The leadership behind the nation’s second most populous city continued to be in turmoil on Wednesday as Los Angeles’ City Council tried to reconvene amid uproar over a recording where one of the city’s officials used racist language. The meeting ended before the officials could even start business in the city as noisy protesters drowned out the officials.
What’s happening today: The Los Angeles City Council is meeting for the second time since the release of a radio broadcast in which the president of the council, Nury Martinez, was heard saying racist things and disparaging his colleagues in a file obtained by the Los Angeles Times. Protesters have already started gathering outside the city hall.
What’s in the audio: In the transcripts obtained by The Times, Martinez could be heard making racist remarks about the white congressman’s child, saying that his colleague – Mike Bonin – “treated his young Black son like he was helping” and describing his partner’s son in Spanish as. “like a monkey.”
Who resigned? Martinez announced Tuesday that he is taking a “leave of absence,” the Times reported. Nury and Ron Herrera, president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, both resigned as president on Monday, according to The Times. The other two council members heard on the phone, Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, did not resign.
Concerns: In addition to the three council members who were heard on the broadcast, three current or former council members have been accused of corruption. It is unclear whether the Council can muster the required 10 members – out of 15 – to do business on Wednesday.
The city council meeting ends after hours of protests
For more than an hour, violent protesters stood on wooden benches inside the stone-walled City Hall chanting, shouting and delaying Wednesday’s meeting until all apartheid officials resigned. At 11:15 a.m. PT — more than an hour after the 10 a.m. meeting began — the council adjourned the meeting.
“We shut the shit up,” the crowd chanted in response as the room’s lights were turned off and the officials left the room. Protesters stomped, clapped and sang in celebration.
Some wore “Black Lives Matter” clothing, while others wore “I’m Black,” referring to what Martinez said in the recording. Many held up signs that read, “RACISTS RESIGN.”
Council member Mitch O’Farrell, who is acting as president after Martinez stepped down, tried to start the meeting several times, at one point trying to start with public comments and another time with comments from Council member Mike Bonin, who was with his family. the purpose of hot words. But every time the protesters drowned him, which made the members of the council leave the houses.
Later, O’Farrell said the meeting was over because they didn’t do it anymore they had a team at the councilmeaning that two thirds – or 10 out of 15 – members of the council were absent.
The crowd chanted, “Sin renuncia, no hay justia,” which means “No resignation, no justice.”
Biden joins the call for council members to resign
The three council members heard on the tape have faced strong calls to resign from the council from local politicians, mayoral candidates, labor groups and even President Biden.
White House Press Secretary Jean-Pierre said President Biden who calls on all leaders who have heard the call to resign.
“The president is happy to see that one of the participants in this discussion has resigned,” said Jean-Pierre. “He believes they should all resign. The language used in this conversation was unacceptable and appalling.”
Other prominent names have called for resignations: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the California Democratic Party, several labor unions, and the current mayor’s representatives. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California’s longest-serving US senator, also joined the chorus on Wednesday.
What happens when city council members don’t resign?
While everyone from local residents to President Joe Biden are calling for the resignation of all the officials in this position, not much can be done if they don’t.
Los Angeles has no way to suspend or remove members of the 15-member city council for such actions, the LA Times reported. There is a law that allows members to be suspended if they are accused of a crime and are awaiting trial, the City Charter says.
Another option may be recalling members, a popular method in California due to laws that make it easier to initiate such efforts. But one of the members of the city council, Cedillo, has a term ends in December.
Meanwhile, there is concern that the council of ministers will not be able to gather the required 10 members out of 15 to work on Wednesday if the two council members resign.
Distribution: The Associated Press; Christal Hayes, USA TODAY