LA Council Seeks Clarification on What Constitutes Vacant Seat Amid Scandal

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Los Angeles City Council voted 10-0 Wednesday to seek clarification on what signifies a council member having vacated their office, as Councilmen Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo continue to resist calls to resign for their role in the City Hall racism scandal.

Neither de León nor Cedillo have attended a council meeting since Oct. 11, days after the leaked recording of the 2021 conversation that included racist comments and attempts to manipulate redistricting was leaked. The council has also voted unanimously to censure both councilmen, who have been stripped of most of their committee assignments.

Under the City Charter, a seat would be considered vacant if a council member is absent from the city “without consent of the Council for more than 60 consecutive days” or has “ceased to discharge the duties of the office for 90 consecutive days.”

The council on Wednesday asked for the city attorney to report back within a week in a closed session with clarification on those two provisions. The council also sought instruction on the consequences of censured members not being allowed to participate in council and committee meetings, and whether “threats and intimidation to duly elected council members qualifies as a permitted absence.”

Council President Paul Krekorian reiterated Wednesday that the council has “taken literally every legal step that’s available to us under the City Charter” to urge resignations, but he sought to explore the two clauses regarding absence from the city and ceasing to discharge the duties of the office. Krekorian last month denied de León’s request to be excused from council meetings.

“What this item does is allows us to explore … where the limits of the council’s power may be,” Krekorian said.

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