LA City Council

LA City Council Eyes April Special Election for Seat Vacated by Nury Martinez

Nury Martinez, the former council president, stepped down in October after a recorded conversation with two other councilmembers that included racist slurs referring to a colleague's adopted Black son was made public.

Tavis Smiley speaks during the Los Angeles City Council meeting at Los Angeles City Hall.

An ordinance that sets a special election next year for the Sixth District seat vacated by Nury Martinez was approved Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council.

The council voted 10-0 to approve a date of April 4 for the special election.

The special election is estimated to cost the city up to $7.65 million, according to the City Clerk's Office. A runoff, if necessary, will be June 27.

Council President Paul Krekorian said the funding would be discussed further in the Budget and Finance Committee. The ordinance will come before the council next week for final consideration.

The Sixth District -- which includes central and eastern portions of the San Fernando Valley -- is being overseen by a non-voting caretaker, the city's chief legislative analyst, Sharon Tso. A non-voting caretaker does not hold a seat on the council, but oversees the council office to make sure the district provides constituent services and other basic functions.

The last day for interested candidates to file a declaration of intent is Dec. 12, according to the ordinance.

Martinez resigned after she uttered several racial slurs in an October 2021 leaked conversation about city redistricting. Her term was set to expire in December 2024.

The other two council members involved in the leaked conversation that spurred the scandal, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, have so far defied calls to resign. The conversation included racist slurs referring to the 2-year-old adopted Black son of Councilmember Mike Bonin.

De León and Cedillo both appeared at the first council meeting after the recording was made public, but soon left after a conversation with other members of the 15-person panel.

Mike Bonin, whose son was the target of many of the racist comments in the leaked audio recording that started the scandal, says an apology is not enough. Mekahlo Medina reports for Today in LA on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022.

De León's term also expires in December 2024. Protesters have regularly gathered at council meetings and outside the councilmember's house, calling to for him to step down.

De León has said he has no plans to resign.

Cedillo lost his re-election bid to Eunessis Hernandez in June and will leave office in December. Krekorian has suggested swearing in Hernandez immediately if Cedillo resigns.

After ejecting several protesters from the chamber Wednesday who were asking the council not to meet unless the pair both step down, Krekorian said ahead of the vote that this item was an example of why it was important for the council to keep meeting.

"A quarter of Angelenos who are now deprived of representation because of the resignation of Ms. Martinez would be left without representation," he said. "I think it just emphasizes the importance that the council continues to meet in order to respond to the very crisis that was created -- that so many members of the public are talking about and with whom we stand in solidarity."

The council is not empowered to remove members, except in cases of criminal matters.

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