LA racism scandal prompts new round of city council protests

Dec 13, 2022, 2:16 AM | Updated: 5:05 pm
Los Angeles City Council member Kevin de Leon sits in chamber during the Los Angeles City Council m...

Los Angeles City Council member Kevin de Leon sits in chamber during the Los Angeles City Council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, in Los Angeles. A small group of protesters chanted throughout the meeting calling for the resignation of Councilman de Leon. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

              Los Angeles City Council member Kevin de Leon arrives in the chamber during the Los Angeles City Council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, in Los Angeles. A small group of protesters chanted during the meeting calling for the resignation of Councilman de Leon. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
            
              Protesters hold signs and shouts slogans while Los Angeles City Council member Kevin de Leon sits in the chamber during the Los Angeles City Council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, in Los Angeles. A small group of protesters chanted during the meeting calling for the resignation of Councilman de Leon. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
            
              Protesters are escorted out of the Los Angeles City Council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, in Los Angeles. A small group of protesters chanted during the meeting calling for the resignations of Councilman de Leon. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
            
              A man stands on the bench and shouts slogans during the Los Angeles City Council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, in Los Angeles. A small group of protesters chanted during the meeting calling for the resignation of Councilman Kevin de Leon. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
            
              Los Angeles City Council member Kevin de Leon sits in chamber during the Los Angeles City Council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, in Los Angeles. A small group of protesters chanted throughout the meeting calling for the resignation of Councilman de Leon. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
            Protesters react after Los Angeles City Council member Kevin de Leon casts a vote to ratify a state of emergency on homelessness during the Los Angeles City Council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, in Los Angeles. A small group of protesters chanted during the meeting calling for the resignation of Councilman de Leon. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu) Los Angeles City Council President Paul Krekorian looks on as police officers stand guard during the Los Angeles City Council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022 in Los Angeles. A small group of protesters is chanting throughout the meeting calling for the resignations of Councilman Kevin de Leon. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu) A man stands on the bench and shouts slogans during the Los Angeles City Council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, in Los Angeles. A small group of protesters chanted throughout the meeting calling for the resignation of Councilman Kevin de Leon. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu) A woman holds a sign and shouts slogans during the Los Angeles City Council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, in Los Angeles. A small group of protesters chanted throughout the meeting calling for the resignation of Councilman Kevin de Leon. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The City Council was disrupted Tuesday by another round of boisterous, foul-mouthed protests after a councilman facing widespread calls to resign for his involvement in a racism scandal defiantly returned to the chamber and took his seat.

Councilman Kevin de Leon’s appearance prompted some council members to walk out amid shouting and chanting from rival groups in the audience, while council President Paul Krekorian ordered a recess amid the outburst.

The turmoil represented a reprise of a Friday meeting where de Leon appeared in the ornate chamber for the first time since mid-October. He is the only council member involved in the scandal still resisting calls from President Joe Biden to step down, while continuing to collect his annual salary of nearly $229,000 — among the most lucrative paydays for city council members in the nation.

Protesters were shouting and waving signs in the audience throughout the meeting. During a public comment period, most of those who spoke denounced de Leon as a racist and called on the councilman to resign, but some supporters defended him and lauded his work in his district, which includes downtown Los Angeles and the heavily Latino Boyle Heights neighborhood.

The continuing disruptions turned the meeting at times into a veritable Theater of the Absurd, with protesters screaming profanities, city staffers pleading for calm and police evicting some protesters who refused repeated orders to settle down.

When de Leon appeared about midway through the meeting, more shouting ensued, some council members immediately left the room and Council President Paul Krekorian quickly called a recess. The council later resumed business, enacting Mayor Karen Bass’ signature proposal declaring a state of emergency for homelessness that she promised to propose on her first day in office.

“This is a monumental day for the city,” Bass said in a statement after the vote. “This declaration will enable us to move faster and unlock every tool possible” to take on the crisis, with over 40,000 unhoused people living in tent encampments or rusty RVs that have spread into virtually every neighborhood.

The scandal was triggered by a leaked recording of crude, racist comments from a year-old meeting involving de Leon, then-council President Nury Martinez, labor leader Ron Herrera and then-Councilman Gil Cedillo — all Latino Democrats — in which they plotted to expand their political power at the expense of Black voters during a realignment of council district boundaries.

Martinez and Herrera resigned within days of the disclosure of the recording, and Cedillo vanished from public sight. Cedillo’s term ended Monday after he lost a reelection bid earlier this year, leaving de Leon as the only person involved in the scandal still holding his job.

It remains unknown who made the recording that was posted on a website, or why.

De Leon has apologized repeatedly but said he will not resign. He argues that he wants to continue working on homelessness, fallout from the pandemic and the threat of renter evictions in his district.

There is no legal avenue for his colleagues to remove him — the council can only suspend a member when criminal charges are pending.

Stripped of his ability to participate on council committees, facing widespread pressure to resign and after an extended absence from council meetings, de Leon has been maneuvering to return to the public sphere, despite being reviled by colleagues who say they cannot work with him.

Last week, he scuffled with an activist who heckled him at a holiday toy giveaway.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

The logo for OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, appears on a mobile phone, in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 31...
Associated Press

Cheaters beware: ChatGPT maker releases AI detection tool

ChatGPT is trying to curb its reputation as a freewheeling cheating machine with a new tool that can help detect if artificial intelligence wrote it
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Myanmar resistance steadfast against army rule 2 years later

BANGKOK (AP) — The prospects for peace in Myanmar, much less a return to democracy, seem dimmer than ever two years after the army seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, experts say. On Wednesday, legions of opponents of military rule heeded a call by protest organizers to stay home in […]
23 hours ago
Rescue workers and people gather at the site of Monday's suicide bombing after authorities finished...
Associated Press

Peshawar, the city of flowers, becomes epicenter of violence

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan’s Peshawar was once known as “the city of flowers,” surrounded by orchards of pear, quince and pomegranate trees. It was a trading city, situated at the gates of a key mountain valley connecting South and Central Asia. But for the past four decades, it has borne the brunt of rising […]
23 hours ago
This undated photo provided by the Grants Pass Police Department shows Benjamin Obadiah Foster. Fos...
Rio Yamat and Andrew Selsky, Associated Press

Oregon kidnap suspect previously released the day he arrived at prison

A man at the center of an intense police search in Oregon after a violent kidnapping last week was released from custody in October 2021 by Nevada prison officials on the same day he was transferred to the state's custody to serve a kidnapping sentence, authorities said Monday.
23 hours ago
FILE - Taiwanese Mirage 2000 fighter jets taxi along a runway during a drill at an airbase in Hsinc...
Associated Press

Taiwan activates defenses in response to China incursions

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan scrambled fighter jets, put its navy on alert and activated missile systems in response to nearby operations of 34 Chinese military aircraft and nine warships that are part Beijing’s strategy to unsettle and intimidate the self-governing island democracy. The large-scale Chinese deployment comes as Beijing increases preparations for a potential […]
23 hours ago
In this Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023 photo, Beth Caruso, author and co-founder of the CT Witch Trial Exon...
Associated Press

Connecticut may exonerate accused witches centuries later

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Decades before the infamous Salem witch trials in Massachusetts, Alse Young was killed at the gallows in Connecticut, becoming the first person on record to be executed in the American colonies for witchcraft. The Windsor town clerk registered the death on May 26, 1647, in a diary entry that read: “Alse […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
LA racism scandal prompts new round of city council protests