City Council fallout continues with a resignation

A person holds a sign that says "Fuera Nury Gil Kevin."
A protester at the Los Angeles City Council meeting on Tuesday.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, Oct. 13. I’m Ada Tseng, an assistant editor on the Utility Journalism Team. We write explainers and guides to help Southern Californians make decisions and solve problems.

The fallout from this weekend’s leaked audio of L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez, Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera continues. On Wednesday, Martinez announced her resignation.

The subject of the recorded conversation was the three council members’ dissatisfaction with the redistricting maps drawn by a commission that included their own appointees.


Mike Feuer, city attorney and former council member, renewed his call for the city to switch to a truly independent commission to draw district lines that council members could not amend to their own benefit.

“If you leave in the hands of elected officials the power to determine their own political districts, this is a recipe for conflicts of interest and an invitation for backroom deals,” Feuer told reporters at a news conference.

In an interview with my colleague Jon Healey, Feuer said his proposal would create “a very specific antidote” to the negativity and division sparked by the controversy.

Going the independent-commission route would require voters to amend the city’s charter, Feuer said, so he urged the council to put two measures on the ballot: one next spring to use the county’s independent redistricting process to draw new lines temporarily, and then one in the 2024 general election to create the city’s own independent commission and double the number of council districts, among other major changes.

The scandal started when secretly recorded audio was posted on Reddit. The post was removed and the user suspended — but not before The Times got the audio.

But there are better ways to get evidence of government malfeasance or other newsworthy information out into the world than by using a Reddit burner account.


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Podcast: The leaked tape that upended L.A. politics. In case you missed it, “The Times” podcast host Gustavo Arellano spoke with reporter Benjamin Oreskes about how the fallout has roiled L.A. politics just before a crucial mayoral election and what could come next. Los Angeles Times

Does L.A. need a new generation of Latino leaders? Columnist Jean Guerrero argues younger progressive Latino leaders are the ones ready to do the difficult work ahead. Los Angeles Times

A setback for diversity in Hollywood? Warner Bros. Television received criticism for its decision earlier this week to shut down its television workshop for emerging writers and directors of color. Los Angeles Times

Check out "The Times" podcast for essential news and more

These days, waking up to current events can be, well, daunting. If you’re seeking a more balanced news diet, “The Times” podcast is for you. Gustavo Arellano, along with a diverse set of reporters from the award-winning L.A. Times newsroom, delivers the most interesting stories from the Los Angeles Times every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.


Relief for Californians struggling to pay utility bills. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office announced that the state would disperse $1.4 billion in utility relief funds by year’s end. Bay City News Foundation

Tackling opioid and fentanyl addiction in California. The rise in fentanyl deaths has prompted the creation of a special bipartisan state committee. Bay City News Foundation


$4.2 million in donations for the L.A. County sheriff’s race. Where’s it coming from? Katie Licari and Aida Ylanan from The Times’ data and graphics desk track the money flowing into the Los Angeles County sheriff’s race. Los Angeles Times

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Updated COVID-19 boosters approved for kids 5 and older. The tweaked boosters have been modified to target today’s most common and contagious Omicron strain. Federal health officials encourage people to get the extra protection ahead of holiday gatherings. Los Angeles Times

Today isInternational Day for Disaster Risk Reduction. Prepare for an earthquake by signing up for the Unshaken newsletter, The Times’ free six-week guide toearthquake resilience.


The pickleball vs. tennis battle. Pickleball has increased in popularity during the pandemic, and some cities have rushed to convert underused tennis courts to pickleball courts. But not San Francisco, some pickleballers say. San Francisco Chronicle

A daughter’s final goodbye to her father in “Last Flight Home.” Writer-director Ondi Timoner’s film documents the final 15 days of her 92-year-old father’s life after he chose to utilize California’s End of Life Option Act. Los Angeles Times

SoCal’s Burmese community rallies in O.C. Protesters gathered at the Myanmar Democracy Solidarity Rally in Stanton over the weekend. Voice of O.C.

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Los Angeles: 78, partly cloudy. San Diego: 71, partly cloudy. San Francisco: 61, partly cloudy. San Jose: 72, partly cloudy. Fresno: 90, sunny. Sacramento: 85, partly cloudy.


Today’s California memory is from Rita Steiner:

Growing up in Southern California during the ’60s was the place to be. It was the time of the Beach Boys, Jan & Dean and more. Surfing was king. My best friend inherited an old yellow Dodge. We would tie our surfboards to the roof and head to Huntington Beach. We were unaccomplished surfers, yet we thought we were cool in our bikinis and our tans. Every time we stopped and turned the car off, we had to jumpstart it again. It never seemed to bother us. There were always cute boys around to help us with the jumper cables.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

For the record: In Wednesday’s newsletter, a caption identified a City Hall protester as Earl Ofari Hutchinson. The man is Greg Akili.

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