LA City Council

LA City Council Votes to Hold Special Election to Fill Nury Martinez's Seat During Chaotic Session

The Los Angeles City Council is set to meet in person on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of a special election to replace Nury Martinez after she resigned, among other topics.

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The Los Angeles City Council met in person on Tuesday for a chaotic session after meeting remotely last week, with protesters still demanding that Councilman Kevin de León resign.

Despite the uproar, de León remains defiant, saying he is not going to resign and that he will do another interview on his media tour Tuesday morning.

De León requested to be temporarily excused from the City Council meetings, but Council President Paul Krekorian denied his request.

In a letter responding to De León's request, Krekorian said, in part, "Those of us who know you and have worked with you are glad to hear that you acknowledge the significance of the damage that your actions have inflicted.

"The city, your constituents, and the City Council itself all desperately need to turn the page and begin the process of healing. I must reiterate to you as clearly as I can that the first and most important step you must take to facilitate that process is to resign from the Council."

Krekorian added, in the same letter, "I do not grant your request to be excused from attending Council meetings. Councilmembers are excused from attendance for temporary absences until they return to the Council. You cannot return to the Council without causing more harm and disruption.  There is no path forward that includes your continued participation in this Council."

De León says he wants to leave the decision about what path forward to take, after the leaked audio recording of a conversation between him, former City Council President Nury Martinez, councilman Gil Cedillo and former LA Federation of Labor president Ron Herrera, up to voters.

Among the flurry of interviews De León has conducted in recent days was a conversation on NBC4's NewsConference with Conan Nolan, where he said his duty is to represent his constituents, and if they want to recall him, he will respect that.

But on Tuesday, De León continues to defend his seat on City Council, taking part in another interview with KBLA radio host Tavis Smiley. Smiley said he planned to discuss the impact of the leaked recording on communities of color during the 9 a.m. interview.

"The people most offended, most put upon, are African Americans," Smiley said before the Tuesday interview. "With all due respect to Councilman De León, one of the things I'm sure we'll talk about is why he's just now getting to a conversation where he's going one-on-one essentially with Black Los Angeles."

Defiant protesters aren't giving up either, still outraged that the councilman won't leave office.

Martinez, who resigned three days after the LA Times report revealed the leaked audio recording to the public, left behind a vacant seat representing LA's 6th district.

That seat was up for discussion Tuesday during the City Council session, with the possibility of a special election that would cost taxpayers an estimated $7 million.

After the council voted 11-0 on Tuesday to move forward with that election, it will take place on April 4, 2023.

A runoff, if necessary, will take place on June 27. Council President Paul Krekorian said the funding would be discussed further in the Budget and Finance Committee.

Cedillo and De León remain in office despite the immense pressure to step down.

Cedillo's term expires in just a few months, while De León's term doesn't end until 2024.

Herrera, the fourth participant in the recording, also resigned from his position on the LA Federation of Labor.

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