LOS ANGELES (AP) — California’s attorney general said Wednesday that he will investigate Los Angeles’ redistricting process as three of its City Council members face calls to resign over a leaked recording of them using racist language to mock colleagues while they schemed to protect Latino political strength in council districts.
The announcement from Attorney General Rob Bonta, a Democrat like the three council members, comes amid growing calls to address the way politics can still influence the redrawing of district maps after the census count each decade. He said the investigation could lead to civil liability or criminal charges, depending on what is found.
“We’re going to gather the facts, we’re going to work to determine the truth and take action as necessary to ensure the fair application of our laws,” Bonta said.
“It’s clear an investigation is afternoon needed to help restore confidence in the redistricting process for the people of LA,” he added.
Bonta spoke in Los Angeles while the council itself was trying to conduct business nearby despite the uproar triggered by the recording of crude, racist comments from a nearly year-old meeting, which also provided an unvarnished look into City Hall’s racial rivalries. Those involved in the closed-door meeting were all Latinos, while Bonta is the first Filipino American to hold the top law enforcement job in the nation’s most populous state.
Three council members — former City Council President Nury Martinez, who is taking a leave of absence, and Councilmen Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo — are facing calls from President Joe Biden and others to resign after the recording surfaced online.
The council reconvened Wednesday, possibly to censure the three members, with the minimum of 10 out of 15 members necessary for a quorum but was unable to do business because