Former Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo said “cancel culture” was to blame for backlash stemming from the infamously leaked council audio recording.
In a 1,100-word letter, Cedillo said he should have “cut off” conversations that “crossed the line,” but felt his silence was not enough reason to resign.
“I will never turn my back on the communities I have represented or the people for whom I have fought,” Cedillo said in the letter. “This modern version of McCarthyism is a danger to democracy, not a defense. It’s ‘cancel culture’ at its worst, and this kid from Boyle Heights never resigned.”
Cedillo’s letter was also the first time any of the members involved in the leaked conversation, addressed the redistricting conversations, that many local activists and even fellow councilmembers called into question, to the point where the California Department of Justice said it would investigate the city’s process.
The former councilmember, who served the entirety of his term up until this Monday, said “we were doing our jobs,” as far as redistricting.
“Ethnicity and income levels are major factors in drawing relatively balanced electoral maps, and we wanted to ensure that Latinos and all communities are represented fairly,” Cedillo said. “There were calls for a new map with six Latino districts and one Black seat (two less than before), but my colleagues and I supported maintaining the number of African American seats higher than the percentage of the City’s population. We also supported our Black colleagues over Latina opponents in the June elections for those seats. We saw opportunities for Latinos to earn additional seats in future elections, and that is a win for all of Los Angeles.”
One of the quotes in the leaked audio that drew concerns from Councilwoman Nithya Raman, whose 4th district was the topic of conversation, was Councilman Kevin de Leon saying, “that’s the [district] we put in a blender.”
In response to the redistricting portion of the leaked audio, L.A. city councilmembers discussed a possible measure to create an independent redistricting commission by 2024.
Additional fallout from the leaked tapes led the city council voted to censure and remove Cedillo and de Leon from their committee duties, which was all the council was legally allowed to impose at that point.
Councilwoman Nury Martinez resigned from the council soon after the leak, with L.A. Fed President doing the same. While not resigning, Cedillo did not win his bid for reelection this year. The remaining member involved in the recording is de Leon, who has continually stated his plans to remain on the council through the end of his term in 2024. De Leon has made multiple attempts to return to council meetings, but neither time was allowed to stay.
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