LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Eunisses Hernandez is just over a month away from taking office as the new council member representing Los Angeles’ First District, but said she has not received any outreach from the current officeholder, embattled Councilman Gil Cedillo, in helping her transition.
Cedillo and Councilman Kevin de León have both defied fierce and widespread calls to resign for taking part in a leaked 2021 conversation that involved racist comments and attempts to manipulate redistricting. Cedillo will leave office regardless in a few weeks.
Hernandez is set to be sworn in Dec. 12. Council President Paul Krekorian has said that he would consider swearing in Hernandez immediately if Cedillo resigns, but Hernandez doesn’t believe Cedillo will step down ahead of his term ending.
Hernandez told City News Service on Friday that Cedillo’s office has “absolutely not” been working with her team.
“I’ve actually had to reach out to that office because we have gotten no information,” Hernandez said. “The council member has not reached out to me whatsoever. I have not spoken to him.”
Conrado TerrazasCross, a spokesman for Cedillo, did not return a request for comment on Friday. Cedillo’s only public comments regarding the scandal since an initial statement the day the recordings were released have come through TerrazasCross, who maintains that Cedillo is at “a place of reflection.”
Hernandez said she met with Cedillo’s district director on Friday after reaching out on her own. She claimed that Cedillo’s office has not been willing to share information, especially after the recordings were released last month.
When Hernandez is sworn in, it will be her first time holding political office. The 32-year-old policy advocate and community organizer upset the incumbent Cedillo in the June primary, setting up a five-month gap between her victory and when she actually takes office.
Hernandez said having little communication from Cedillo so far has made things “a little bit difficult.” She noted projects are in the process of being completed and certain city services lacking — such as trash starting to pile up.
“Honestly, I’m not surprised but I am disappointed,” Hernandez said. “The transition is not just for us. It’s for the district. It’s for the community residents, and it just feels very selfish on his part that it’s happening this way. But we’re trying to do our best to navigate through it.”
Hernandez said she has continued to meet with her soon-to-be constituents and is conducting interviews to hire her staff. About a third of her team is set, she said.
The First District includes parts of northeast and northwest Los Angeles and includes the neighborhoods of Elysian Park, Lincoln Heights and Chinatown.
Hernandez said her immediate priority would be to deliver constituent services such as street cleaning and fixing broken street lights, and that her future colleagues on the council, along with department heads, have been welcoming since she won the election.
“I was nervous that it might be a little bit different, where maybe folks would be a little bit hesitant to open their arms to us,” she said. “But it’s been quite the opposite.”
Hernandez did speak to Cedillo during the Oct. 11 council meeting, when Cedillo and de León both attempted to participate in the first meeting after the tapes were released. They were quickly chanted and shouted out of the horseshoe by a crowd of protesters.
Hernandez said she told Cedillo: “It’s really disrespectful that you’re here. I think you know the community wants you to leave and I think that’s the right move.”
“That’s what I had shared with him, but I didn’t get any response,” Hernandez said.