By Jackie Fortiér

Originally published Oct 13, 2022

Two city council members at the center of scandal over a leaked racist conversation face building pressure to resign.

Mitch O’Farrell, now acting City Council president following Nury Martinez’s resignation, canceled Friday’s scheduled Los Angeles city council meeting.

He said he thought there was a good chance his remaining colleagues will listen to calls to step down.

“I’m hopeful because the call to action and the conversations with Mr. de León and Mr. Cedillo are ongoing, and not just for me, but from elected officials and former elected officials from across the entire spectrum from local to congressional,” O’Farrell said at a news conference Thursday. “The chorus and the unity in demanding these resignations is only growing stronger.”

The Backlash To The Tape

Public backlash erupted after a secret recording of a meeting between council members Nury Martinez, Cedillo, de León and labor leader Ron Herrera surfaced over the weekend. Racist and demeaning language was used to describe a fellow council member’s child, who is Black, as well as immigrant Mexican communities. Additional remarks were homophobic and others targeted Armenians and the Jewish community.

Martinez resigned her council seat Wednesday after elected leaders, including President Biden, called for all three city council members to step down.

What’s Next

O’Farrell said he’d spoken to Cedillo on Wednesday, “and he made it really clear that he is taking into consideration the gravity of the moment, and, and what he ultimately is going to need to do.”

Despite attempts to contact him, O’Farrell said he has not spoken to de León. But the resignations do not appear imminent.

“If I felt that there were going to be two additional resignations today, I would not have canceled tomorrow’s meeting. I just don’t see it happening by then,” O’Farrell told reporters.

The two men haven’t been seen in the City Council chambers since Monday, when they were shouted at by an outraged crowd who demanded their resignations. Both men left the chamber soon after, and did not appear at the City Council meeting Tuesday, which was disbanded due to protests.

This report is reprinted with permission from Southern California Public Radio. © 2022 Southern California Public Radio. All rights reserved.

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