In light of the explosive leaked audio tapes of former LA City Council President Nury Martinez and Councilmembers Kevin de Leon, Gil Cedillo as well as the then Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, today, leaders from five civil rights organizations — the National Action Network (NAN);National Urban League (NUL); Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; and the NAACP — released an open letter to LA City Council President Pro Tempore Mitch O’Ferrell on Monday.
The letter was designed to “rectify the gross injustice” being done to suspended Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas of District 10 and restore his pay.
“We therefore appeal to you and your sense of justice and fairness to expedite restoration of Councilmember Ridley-Thomas’s pay. This could start by waiving the procedural rules that have kept two motions aimed at addressing the issue of restoring the councilmember’s pay out of Council committees where they continue to languish,” the letter reads. “At a time when reflection and the erosion of democratic norms is gaining momentum, the Council and City Controller must reconsider their decision.”
The letter was signed by Marc Morial, NUL President/CEO; Rev. Al Sharpton, NAN president; Charles Steele, Jr., SCLC President; Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Rainbow/PUSH president; and Derrick Johnson, NAACP president/CEO.
“Elected officials who face criminal prosecution should be afforded the same due process rights and the presumption of innocence law enforcement officers and other civil servants receive in the City of Los Angeles,” the letter stated.
“Suspension from office, revocation of representational duties, and pay without a hearing and meaningful public discourse can have far reaching implications for the constituents, staff, the individual member and democracy itself. We strongly urge you to remedy this blatant violation of civil rights and due process in lieu of our having to press further on this time-sensitive matter.”