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LA politicians to lose committee positions over race scandal

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The head of the Los Angeles City Council escalated the pressure Monday on two members to resign over their participation in a private meeting in which they did not object to a colleague’s crude and racist remarks and at times joined in the banter.

Acting Council President Mitch O’Farrell said he will strip Gil Cedillo and Kevin de Leon of committee assignments and chairmanships as pressure mounts on the veteran Democratic politicians.

“These members have lost all credibility, all standing,” O’Farrell said at a City Hall news conference.

The two men have refused calls to step down despite widespread condemnation that led former council President Nury Martinez to resign last week.

The leaked recording has plunged the council into chaos as angry protesters shut down meetings.

The body will meet virtually Tuesday after Councilmember Mike Bonin — the target of Martinez’s most egregious remarks — tested positive for COVID-19 after the Oct. 11 meeting and at least one other member was exposed, O’Farrell said.

In the recording made a year ago by an unknown person, Martinez dominated the conversation and made the most offensive comments, often using profanity. De Leon and Cedillo chimed in at moments and laughed at others.

De Leon has apologized for seeming to make or condone “insensitive comments.” Cedillo has said he should have objected to the language but didn’t make any derisive remarks himself.

Both men appeared at the Oct. 11 meeting but walked out after being jeered by raucous protesters who demanded they leave.

Cedillo is “reconciling his feelings about this transgression and understood the gravity of the moment,” O’Farrell said. He has not been able to reach de Leon.

Stefanie Dazio And Brian Melley, The Associated Press