Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez announced Monday that the City Council’s planned meetings have been canceled until further notice, in order for city staff to work on logistics to hold meetings remotely during the coronavirus outbreak.
Martinez had already canceled all the council’s committee meetings and the council was meeting only on Tuesdays in March, with the audience watching remotely under an outdoor tent. Commissions and other board meetings were also previously canceled.
“The growing coronavirus pandemic is unlike anything we have seen in our lifetime,” Martinez said. “The city of Los Angeles, like much of the nation and world, is in tough and challenging times.”
Martinez said she wants to reschedule the meetings as soon as possible, as the council for the largest city in the Southland typically meets three times a week — on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays — and business it needs to address is piling up.
“As city representatives, we have to do everything in our power, legislatively and otherwise, to ensure our fellow Angelenos stay as healthy as possible, economically stable and emerge from this pandemic with hope for a brighter future,” Martinez said.
Before the city and county’s “Safer at Home” orders were announced last week to keep people at home and further reduce public gatherings to 10 or fewer people, Martinez said her office was working with city staff to host a City Council meeting on Tuesday that was, in part, planned as a teleconference meeting, with public comment by phone. The meeting would have also included some council members in the council chamber.
“We have a collective responsibility and obligation to the people of Los Angeles to keep our government operating while protecting the safety and welfare of its employees, the public and the media,” Martinez said.
The cancellation of the meeting leaves several items to be voted on by the council that were advanced last week in response to the coronavirus outbreak, and Martinez said that “one way or another, we must meet to resolve those items and assist the good people of Los Angeles.”
Some of those items included trying to secure funding to staff security at restrooms at the city’s parks so they could remain open 24 hours a day.
Councilman David Ryu had planned to file a motion Tuesday to temporarily freeze rent and utility increases for residential and commercial properties. The City Council voted to approve an emergency eviction moratorium last week, and the Department of Water and Power will not shut off people’s utilities during this time, according to utility officials.