LA City Council to hold special election, build more housing in 2019

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles City Council will appoint a temporary caretaker but hold a June special election for District 12 to replace Councilmember Mitch Englander, who quit office two years early, leaving his seat vacant.

Speaking on Newsmakers' annual City Council year-end program, Council President Herb Wesson said when the council reconvenes Jan. 15, he will seek to have Greig Smith appointed until the special election. Smith was the district's councilman from 2003-2011. He will not run in the special election. The election will cost $2.5 million. Wesson said technically, they didn't have to call an election, but he believes it's the desire of that district's voters. Councilmember Nury Martinez said "we could not-not have them, in a democratic process, weigh in and vote for their new representative."

With Englander's departure, the council lost its president pro tem. Wesson said he will ask the council to vote Martinez into the role, and he will pick her replacement for assistant president pro tem. The leadership have the powerful role of setting the council agenda.

The councilmembers would not discuss the possibility of another vacancy with Councilmember Jose Huizar under FBI and IRS investigation. The L.A. Neighborhood Council Coalition is calling for his resignation. Wesson took away Huizar's committee chairmanships because it "was the best thing to do," to ensure the integrity of the city. He would not comment further, citing the ongoing investigation.

Martinez discussed the council's next step in homeless housing. In addition to temporary bridge housing in each of the 15 council districts, they plan to build 222 units of permanent supportive housing in every district as well.

Wesson discussed January's new rules for council disrupters. He explained why he believes a disrupter who halts civil proceedings is not covered by the First Amendment and should result in ejection from meetings and a temporary ban on future attendance.

Watch the video above for the full interview.
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