LA council goes virtual for next two meetings due to COVID case, amid scandal – GNT NEWS

After protests demanding the resignation of three City Council members involved in a City Hall racism scandal led to the cancellation of Friday’s meeting, Acting Council President Mitch O’Farrell announced Friday that next Tuesday and Wednesday’s council meetings will be held virtually due to Exposure to COVID-19 in the chamber.

Councilman Mike Bonin tested positive for COVID-19 this week and was present at Tuesday’s meeting. A press release from O’Farrell’s office made no mention of the controversy over the leaked tapes or the fact that all three meetings this week were either delayed, postponed or canceled due to protests.

Nury Martinez resigned from her council seat this week, but Councilmen Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo — the other two council members in the video — have not yet resigned. Protests were expected again at City Hall next Tuesday if de León and Cedillo did not resign by then.

When asked by City News Service if the potential for another disruption led to the decision to hold the meetings virtually, Dan Halden, a spokesman for O’Farrell, said the move was related to the “diagnosis of COVID-19.”

Halden later said it was important for the council to move forward and hold the meeting. Halden added that while the pain and anger Angelenos feel over the video’s release “comes from a real place,” but “at the same time, we have to run a business.”

De Leon and Cedillo, who tried to attend Wednesday’s meeting but were asked to leave after protesters objected to their presence, will be able to attend virtual meetings without facing the public face-to-face. Their presence “would not be appropriate, regardless of the format in which we meet,” Halden said.

O’Farrell has been in contact with Cedilla, but has been unable to reach Leon since Tuesday, according to Halden.

O’Farrell said in a statement that “it is possible, if not likely, that there will be more positive cases.”

“With the possibility of more positive cases, out of an abundance of caution, we will hold meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday virtually, as we have done for more than a year at the height of the pandemic,” O’Farrell said. “I urge everyone who was in the Council Chambers this week to get tested from Sunday and continue testing.”

Public comments will be taken remotely. Tuesday’s agenda includes several major items, including the election of a new council president following Martinez’s resignation.

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