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Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian. (Photo: lacity.org)

LA City Council Elects Paul Krekorian As Next Council President Amid Racist Recording Scandal

Neither de Leon or Cedillo appeared, voted in Tuesday’s meeting

By Evan Symon, October 18, 2022 8:44 pm

Amid large protests outside Los Angeles City Hall and at the homes of City Councilmen Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo over the racist recording scandal, the LA City Council voted for Councilman Paul Krekorian to be their new President on Tuesday.

A lifelong resident of Los Angeles and a graduate of USC, Krekorian first became involved in politics in the 1970s, working for then Assemblyman Tom Bane and becoming USC’s campus organizer for the 1978 gubernatorial campaign of Jerry Brown. After gaining a law degree from UC Berkeley, Krekorian practiced law throughout the 80s before jumping into politics once again, joining the Burbank School Board in the late 1980s. In 1992, he was an organizer for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential run and was part of the Webster Commission, which looking into the 1992 LA Riots.

His first elected office came in 2006, when he was voted in as a State Assemblyman, leaving both the school board and his legal practice to go to Sacramento. He remained an Assemblyman until 2010, due to being elected to the Los Angeles City Council, and has remained there ever since. While he has had many projects over the years, his largest by far has to bring public transit services into the San Fernando Valley, including the eventual conversion of bus lines into light rail.

During the recent recording scandal, Krekorian joined his fellow Councilmembers in calling for the removal of Council President Nury Martinez, Councilmen de Leon and Cedillo, and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera for either their racist remarks or being complicit in them. While both Herrera and Martinez resigned last week, de Leon and Cedillo not resigning has resulted in protests throughout the city and for City Council meetings last week to either be harangued by protesters or cancelled outright.

While the virtual Council meeting on Tuesday was scheduled as such for the reasoning of Councilman Mike Bonin being positive with COVID-19, most believe that the meeting was virtual to get around protesters. A long list of speakers at Tuesdays meeting continued to call for the resignation of the two Councilmen regardless, with many wanting the Council to suspend all business until they were gone. After that was done, the Council voted on a new President, with de Leon and Cedillo not voting due to not attending the meeting. Krekorian was ultimately chosen, with the response to his election overall being positive.

Krekorian as new LA City Council President

“Paul is a committed and conscientious leader who can bring a smart, collaborative, and effective approach to a painful moment when Angelenos deserve steady leadership on the City Council,” said LA Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday. “I am confident that he’ll assemble a leadership team of bridge builders, and I’ll work closely with the Council to help heal the wounds caused by the hateful words of a few.”

In a statement, Krekorian himself noted that “I am honored and humbled by the trust that my fellow Councilmembers have placed in me at this time of crisis and challenge. The Council presidency is a position of collaboration, not command. I will see that the power of the Council presidency is reduced, not enlarged. The era of unilateral power decision making and consolidating power ends today.

“Three elected members of this Council forfeited the public’s trust. One has already resigned. The greatest public service to the city that the others can perform is to resign their offices so that we can begin the process of healing.”

Even Krekorian detractors noted that, when compared to Martinez, him bein Council President is a step up.

“I’m not sure I would call it good, and it is a low bar to clear when compared against Martinez, but I think we can all live with this until more is figured out,” explained Henry McCoy, a San Fernando Valley resident who has helped in in campaigns of Krekorian’s opponents in past elections, to the Globe on Tuesday. “When need those other two gone, we need elections again to replace everyone, including in if the Council expands the number of districts, but then we need to get new blood in as President, someone who hasn’t been on the Council and come in fresh without all that baggage from years in the Hall.

“The City Council really did need a shake up as the recording controversy proved. We got racist and corrupt people out and now we are looking for an independent way to split up districts too. But we can’t let this momentum die. Any world in which Krekorian is the head of the Council is a world where a lot of things went wrong, and that’s where we are. Let’s continue making things right, and that begins with de Leon and Cedillo out.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, neither Cedillo nor de Leon have resigned.

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4 thoughts on “LA City Council Elects Paul Krekorian As Next Council President Amid Racist Recording Scandal

  1. So when the “non-white” (or are Hispanics now considered white again, hard to keep up with the Dems on this) councilmembers who say we are living in a country ruled by “white supremacy” are outed for being actual racists, they end up electing an old white dude to be their new Council President. This is rich.

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