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Los Angeles City Council's Less-Than-Honorable Resignations

Los Angeles, City Council, Resignations

Since 1850, 481 persons have served on the Los Angeles City Council and 78 of them ended up resigning from office before completing their terms (seven others were actually removed from office, but, that's another story). Of course, the vast majority of those who resigned did so for entirely acceptable reasons. They were either elected to another office, or offered a new job, or stepped down for health or other personal reasons. However, a small number, at least since the last century, resigned for less-than-honorable reasons. In the early 20th century, Richmond Plant had to resign from the council because he had violated residency rules for the office. A little more than a hundred years later, Mitchell Englander and José Huizar ended up resigning in the face of federal corruption charges (Englander was convicted and went to prison). Not long after these two, Nury Martinez appears to be the only council member, at least since the 20th century, to actually resign for less-than-honorable reasons that didn't involve breaking the law (although the California Attorney General is looking into that). That story is not yet over, however. Involved with Martinez were council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, who came under intense public pressure to join Martinez as former council members.


Council Member Period on Council Reason Behind Resignation
Richmond Plant Dec. 10, 1909 - Mar. 22, 1910 Plant was in office for less than four months. After taking his seat on the council, he was found not to be eligible to hold office in his council district due to not meeting a minimum two-year residency requirement. He was forced to resign.
Mitchell Englander July 1, 2011 - Dec. 31, 2018 Englander faced federal charges of corruption and lying to investigators. He was accused of illegally accepted gifts and cash from a businessman. He resigned from the council, while under investigation, to take a job outside the public sector. Later, he ended up offering a guilty plea for lying to investigators and was sentenced to 14 months in prison.
José Huizar Nov. 8, 2005 - Oct. 15, 2020 Huizar was indicted on federal corruption charges. He is charged with accepting bribes, fraud, and obstruction. He currently faces trial.
Nury Martinez August 2, 2013 - Oct. 12, 2022 Martinez, who was President of the Council, was exposed making offensive racial remarks in a secretly-recorded 2021 meeting regarding redistricting maps with fellow council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, and Ron Herrera, President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. Martinez resigned after facing intense and widespread calls to step down from her council seat.

Sources:
-- City Clerk, City of Los Angeles - City of Los Angeles Officials
-- Almanac research


Incidently, 19 women have served on the Los Angeles City Council, since Estelle Lawton Lindsey was elected to the council in 1915. Only one other women on the council, besides Nury Martinez, ever resigned. Gloria Molina resigned from the council in 1991, after being elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.