After a week of virtual meetings due to COVID-19 exposure, the Los Angeles City Council returned to the chamber Tuesday for the first time in more than a week as it continues to address the fallout from the City Hall racism scandal.
Two weeks after the release of the leaked recording from the October 2021 conversation that included racist comments and redistricting maneuvers, Councilmen Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo have defied widespread calls for resignation that range from President Joe Biden to nearly all of their council colleagues.
On Oct. 12, the last time the council had a meeting at City Hall, protesters chanting "No resignations, no meeting'' effectively forced the council to adjourn without starting the meeting. The following meeting on Oct. 14 was canceled, and then the council met virtually last week after two of its members tested positive for COVID-19.
Tuesday's meting was filled with much of the same from Oct. 12. A handful of protestors chanted in the chamber in an attempt to disrupt the meeting. They have said the council should not procee with business until de León and Cedillo hand in their resignation.
"We have already heard what Kevin thinks about Black people... everybody, his own people, which was not good," said activist Michelle Hope Walker. "We don't really need to hear from Kevin. What we need Kevin to do is to resign."
Despite efforts from protestors and activists, the council continued to move forward with various agenda items.
Newly installed Council President Paul Krekorian had instituted a hybrid setup for public comment this week, allowing people to call in to give testimony in addition to in-person. The pandemic-era remote option for public comment was taken away when the meetings reopened to the public in the chamber in May.
During last week's meetings, several callers asked for a hybrid option for public comment, pointing out that many people who would like to address the council had to be at work or otherwise could not make a midmorning trip to City Hall. These could include older adults and people experiencing homelessness.
On Monday, Krekorian wrote a letter to de León denying his request to be excused from attending meetings, returning a letter that de León sent last week in which he asked for time to focus on the healing process and take professional sensitivity training. De León has conducted numerous television interviews over the last few days stating that he will not resign.
"There is no path forward that includes your continued participation in this council,'' Krekorian said.
Tuesday's agenda included consideration of holding a special election to fill the former seat of Nury Martinez, the third council member who took part in the conversation. Martinez resigned a few days after the recording was leaked.
The election would take place on April 4, 2023 at the earliest, with a runoff -- if necessary -- taking place on June 27. The council was set to discuss calling a special election at Tuesday's meeting and allocating $7.65 million for the two elections.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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