Governor Gavin Newsom joins the chorus calling for the resignation of remaining L.A. City Councilmembers
This is the first time Newsom has come out publicly on the racist scandal in L.A. He called the resignation of Council President Nury Martinez “the right move."
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Following a California governor's debate on Sunday, Oct. 23, against Republican opponent Brian Dahle in San Francisco, incumbent Governor Gavin Newsom publicly called for the resignations of the last two remaining Los Angeles City Councilmembers involved in the recent racist scandal to strike the legislative body.
Councilmembers Kevin De León and Gil Cedillo are the only participants in a racist leaked audio conversation between L.A. public officials that remain in their posts. The audio first leaked on Oct. 9, and quickly made national headlines because of the backlash.
“I think they should,” Newsom told reporters following the debate. He also said he had wanted to give the members “space” to make the decision to leave their posts.
In a statement released on Twitter, “Words matter, and racist language can do real harm,” said Newsom. “These comments have no place in our state, or in our politics, and we must all model better behavior to live the values that so many of us fight every day to protect.”
This is the first time Newsom has publicly come out and addressed the scandal and its participants. The only prior time he made a comment on the matter was after the resignation of Council President Nury Martinez. In a tweet on Oct. 12, Newsom said Martinez’s resignation was “the right move.”
“I was very clear with Nury that she did the right thing, and I think the others should do the same, '' said Newsom. “I wanted to provide the opportunity for them to justify what they said and the opportunity to be transparent about what they said. So we’re hoping and looking forward to [resignation] announcements soon.”
Before Martinez stepped down, L.A. County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera resigned from his position on Oct. 11 after participating in the leaked conversation. In it, the four city officials made racist and derogatory remarks towards a white colleague, Councilmember Mike Bonin, and his young Black son.
They also made racist remarks towards the big Oaxacan community that resides in Koreatown in L.A. as the four spoke about redistricting, a huge part of the nearly one-hour conversation.
In the time since, a new President has been appointed in a unanimous vote while De León and Cedillo have not resigned from their posts, with the former being the only of the two to publicly come out and say he would not resign in an interview with ABC7's Marc Brown in L.A.
"I have to do the hard work. I have to repair. I have to help heal. I have to help restore," De León said. A spokesman for Cedillo said last Wednesday that the councilman remains at “a place of reflection.”
Even with their resistance to this point, the two have been stripped of their committee duties and while De León wants to fight to keep his place, Cedillo lost his primary reelection bid this past June and will be replaced by activist Eunisses Hernandez in 2023.