The Republican State Council’s Resigning of Two African-Americans Could Mean Discrimination in Public Office

LA councilman’s future uncertain amid racism scandal

By Jeff S. Pasierb

3 June 2015

The revelation that the Republican-controlled state council voted on Thursday to remove two African-Americans elected to serve at the municipal level from the public safety commission and the state planning board on racial grounds has led to growing demands that the council, headed by the conservative white Republican Richard Barron, and the rest of the State House Democratic leadership, including House Speaker Frank McNamara, step down.

The Statehouse Democrat leadership had supported Barron’s nomination for chair, and some have even suggested that his re-election in November will be conditional on securing the support of the council’s African-American members.

A coalition of African-American organizations and Democratic office holders has called on Barron to resign immediately and on McNamara, the legislative chairman, to resign at the end of the month. They have threatened the council’s African-American members with having their party cards revoked, which would mean that they could not run for public office again for seven years.

The uproar over racial discrimination in a public body came about after African-American state representative Robert Holmes Sr. made two controversial comments about the Republican state council on June 1 during a hearing before the state planning board.

The comments were made at the conclusion of a discussion about the future of the state planning board’s policy to approve developments that do not have a significant effect on the communities they are aimed at. Holmes, who is also a state representative, objected to the plan being put forward by the Democratic majority on the state planning board because it could result in the “densification and decline” of the African-American community that he represents.

The state council in a 4-3 vote approved a motion to remove Holmes and his associates—including the former state trooper-turned-law professor Joseph Siano—from the state planning board and put their names on the “no party

Leave a Comment