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LA City Council Elects Curren Price As President Pro Tem And Plans Special Election for Nury Martinez's Former Seat

A woman wearing a purple jacket and a white face mask and sunglasses, with light brown skin, walks in front of a cement building with a sign reading CITY HALL. There are several pieces of paper posted to the wall.
A person walks past signs posted outside City Hall calling for the resignations of L.A. City Council members Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo in the wake of a leaked audio recording.
(Mario Tama
Getty Images)
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Resuming in-person meetings for the first time in nearly two weeks, the L.A. City Council unanimously voted Tuesday for Curren Price to serve as President pro tempore. The council also set a special election in April to Nury Martinez, who resigned as Council president and then from City Council entirely earlier this month under intense pressure.

As President pro tem, Price will act as deputy to the new Council president Paul Krekorian. Mitch O'Farrell — who is facing a tough fight for his seat in the Nov. 8 election — had served in the pro tem role since last September.

As far as next steps for replacing Martinez: If necessary, the April election would be followed by a runoff in June. Each election is expected to cost the city close to $4 million.

The Scene At The Meeting

Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León were again absent for today's meeting.

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De León and Cedillo have refused to resign over a leaked recording that surfaced two weeks ago, in which they can be heard having a conversation with Martínez and labor leader Ron Herrerra that included racist and demeaning comments. Martínez resignedafter the audio leaked. Herrera also stepped down as L.A. County Federation of Labor president.

Protests demanding the resignations of de León and Cedillo — who lost his seat outright in the primary election to Eunisses Hernandez — have continued.

What De León Told Tavis Smiley

As Tuesday's meeting was underway, de León was live on Tavis Smiley's KBLA radio program giving an hourlong interview, his longest public comments to date. During the interview —in which de León reiterated that he would not resign — he said Price had been invited to the controversial October 2021 meeting.

At the council meeting, Price refuted de León's comments. "I did not know the meeting that took place with my colleagues, nor was I invited to that meeting," he said.

Smiley noted during the interview that a demonstration was taking place outside of his studio to protest de León's appearance. And there were protesters in the council chambers as well, shouting: "No resignations, no meeting!" and "shut it down!" throughout the proceedings.

At the end of the meeting, Paul Krekorian, the new Council President, stated that council meetings will continue even without resignations.

"There is no way that the work of the people of Los Angeles will stop," he said. "Every member of this council has called for exactly what the people who have been raising their voices in this Chamber have asked for and so we are going to move forward we're going to do the work of this city."

Other Items On The Agenda

Councilmembers unanimously passed a resolution to support Proposition 1, which would amend the California Constitution to make reproductive freedom, including abortion, a legal right.

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Councilmembers also passed a resolution to enforce against "sitting, lying, sleeping, or storing, using, maintaining, or placing personal property, or otherwise obstructing the public right-of-way" in Council District 15 (Joe Buscaino's district). Councilmembers Mike Bonin, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Nithya Raman voted against it.

About District 15
  • Joe Buscaino initially ran for L.A. mayor before withdrawing prior to the primary. Tim McOsker and Danielle Sandoval and now vying to replace him on the Nov. 8 ballot.

What Happened At Previous Council Meetings

Protesters managed to shut down the last in-person City Council meeting on Oct. 12 temporarily, calling for resignations from de León and Cedillo. The Oct. 14 meeting was then cancelled.

Watch A Rerun Of Tuesday's Meeting

It the first meeting back in person after two members tested positive for COVID-19, which led to a week of virtual meetings. You can watch a replay of the video below.

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