Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez has been meeting with residents and leaders throughout the community in plans for appointing a voting member to the Los Angeles City Council to represent the 10th Council District in the coming weeks.
“The residents of Council District 10 deserve to have a voting member from their community represent them on the City Council,” said Martinez. “It’s important to me that residents of the district continue to have stable services, are provided with the resources they need, and are represented with a voting member amongst the Council.”
Community outcries have been loud and continuous over the lack of representation for the 10th District since the City Council suspended Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas in October of 2021.
“To leave the L.A. City Council 10th District without a voice or a vote for the duration of the term is unacceptable and must not be allowed to continue. This goes beyond the censure of a member of the Council. This is the censure of all the residents of the 10th District, which is unacceptable,” stated Michael Lawson, president of the Los Angeles Urban League.
Dr. Mike Davis, a former California Assemblyman and current president of the New Frontier Democratic Club, said, “Constituents of the 10th District have expressed a concern about the need for voting representation and the need to be included in their own city government.
“In the city of Los Angeles, residents of the 10th, like everyone else, pay their taxes, participate in improving their neighborhoods, and want to have the same input other communities in the city enjoy. The cornerstone of our democracy in this city (Los Angeles) is the right to have a representative vote from every Council District on all issues before the governing body (City Council).”
Ridley-Thomas, the elected 10th District councilmember, was suspended from office by the City Council after a 20-count indictment was filed in Los Angeles federal court for bribery and conspiracy charges stemming from his time serving on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. Ridley-Thomas has pled not guilty and is awaiting a trial date.
According to the Los Angeles City Charter, pending trial, the Council may suspend any elected officer who has been charged with a criminal felony “related to a violation of official duties.”
In November, following Ridley-Thomas’ suspension, Martinez named Ridley-Thomas’ chief of staff, Karly Katona, as the caretaker for the 10th District. Katona was informed she would serve as caretaker through the end of 2021 and Martinez would reassess at the start of 2022.
To address vacancies on the City Council, the Council President historically has designated a caretaker in the interim.
The end of 2021 saw both the rise of the COVID-19 Omicron variant as well as Los Angeles City Council Redistricting. Martinez says she wants to “preserve both justice and representation” by allowing for the residents of the 10th District to have a complete voice through a voting member while affording Ridley-Thomas the ability to return should his case be resolved before his term is completed.
“From the pandemic to redistricting, I wanted to make sure the residents had someone they knew continuing the work and fighting in their corner. Ms. Katona and the Council District 10 staff served their district honorably,” said Martinez.
“They have been true public servants and I applaud their continuous hard work and dedication on behalf of their residents and the district.”
There could be substantive legal issues if residents were to elect another Councilmember to the seat and Ridley-Thomas is cleared of all charges before his term is completed. The residents of the 10th District would then face having two members elected to the same seat. Rather than call for a special election, which could create a City Charter crisis, Martinez plans to appoint a member to the seat.
Ridley-Thomas previously served two terms on the City Council from 1991 to 2002. He returned for his third, final term in 2020, which ends in 2024.
Martinez will continue to meet with residents and leaders before announcing her appointment. The appointment would be introduced as a motion in Council and need a simple majority to pass.