At a heated four-hour meeting Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council approved Mayor Karen Bass’ declaration of a homelessness emergency, giving the next mayor a potentially crucial tool to tackle the city’s humanitarian crisis. Voting should’ve been easy.
City Hall Turmoil Threatened
Disgraced Councilmember Kevin de León interrupted the session. Council President Paul Krekorian called a pause immediately.
De León resigned after a racist audiotape upset the neighborhood. Coworkers threatened to leave when he came. De León battled an activist at an Eastside Christmas tree lighting, causing weekend tensions.
De León’s support remained unknown during the conversation. Council company needs 10.
The council approved the mayor’s statement 13–0 after a lengthy standoff following De León’s resignation. De León voted from a council chamber back room while standing.
Demonstrators shouted “shame” and “you liar!” after discovering De León had voted on the idea outside the room.
Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez said he didn’t realise De León was in another room casting votes.
Soto-Martinez called De León’s behaviour “despicable.” He and others will vote for tenant protections and the emergency declaration. “We could not let him hold us hostage,” he said.
The council’s inability to approve may have delayed Bass’s first major policy proposal by a month. Council meets Jan. 10.
Before De León arrived, scores of protesters cursed local officials and demanded a halt. De León supporters and detractors clashed.
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The City Hall tumult complicates council proceedings if De León appears. De León’s presence but absence may be used again.
15 MPs Vote “yes” Automatically
Members must press a button to vote “no” from their seats but may vote “yes” from outside.
After being declared present, council members may use the toilet, hallway, and various meeting rooms behind the chamber while voting.
De León’s appearance on a big screen above the floor confused several audience members.
He can’t face us! Brett Sullivan protested, “If he votes, he needs to stand right there.”
City Hall’s crucial day changed. The council reelected Krekorian as president and extended the COVID-19 eviction moratorium by one month.
De León Entered City Hall
The horseshoe hosted the first meeting of five new council members before winter break.
De León seemed to be evading council members.
De León entered City Hall before midday with many police officers. Since his district had the “largest homeless population in the country,” he told a reporter that the council should accept the mayor’s emergency decree on his way in.
“We have millions of people who go to work with someone they don’t like and they still get up every morning and go to work,” he said. “Resume work.”
Council members departed after De León sat. De León supporters chanted “Sí, se puede” as protesters demanded his resignation.
Krekorian paused and discreetly spoke with De León for about 15 minutes while protesters yelled. Krekorian exited, leaving De León at the horseshoe.