L.A. City Council Jumps into Sterling Controversy, Censures Clippers Owner

Council members also demand that Sterling apologize to Angelenos and Earvin "Magic" Johnson, an "iconic, national figure."

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Originally posted at 12:33 p.m. April 29, 2014. Edited with new details.

The Los Angeles City Council moved today to censure Donald Sterling, whose racist remarks led the NBA to ban the Clippers owner for life from team and league activities.

On a unanimous vote, the council approved a motion that denounces the statements and demands that Sterling apologize to Angelenos and Earvin "Magic" Johnson, an "iconic, national figure" who was a target of some of the remarks.

Council President Herb Wesson noted he personally would not want the proposed apology, and suspects Johnson also would not.

With Los Angeles a city that prides itself on its diversity, "this is the worst city in the world for this to be happening," Councilman Paul Koretz said.

He added the team should be thought of as separate from Sterling.

"I'm a big Clippers fan," he said. "They always, somehow when they put together a great team, find a way never to get too far. This is sadly the worst example of that."

Councilman Bernard Parks, who introduced the motion, said during a morning news conference that the city has a "long-standing tradition" of fighting against racial discrimination.

The motion reflects the city's desire to "condemn the statements made by Mr. Sterling and clearly separate itself from those statements," Parks said.

Prior to the vote, Parks told his colleagues that the issue is "very delicate" for the city of Los Angeles.

"We have seen several explosions in the city when insensitivities have come about," he said.

Parks' motion called the remarks "very offensive," and said they are "completely inconsistent with United States Human Rights Laws, the long- standing positions of the City Council, the diversity of our community, the fan base of the Clippers and the very high percentage of minorities who worked for and are working for the National Basketball Association."

"These comments, actions and statements have no place in today's society," the motion states.

The motion calls on the council to "condemn" the statements allegedly made by Sterling and demand "a personal apology to the entire Los Angeles community."

It also calls on the Los Angeles NAACP to revoke its nomination of Sterling for a humanitarian award and asks the Los Angeles Times to consider pulling Sterling's weekly ads promoting "his commercial real estate empire and alleged civic activities."

Wesson amended the motion to include asking NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to visit Los Angeles to talk to the City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti, as well as to address the community.

On Monday, Wesson sent a letter to Silver, asking him to fund a third- party inquiry into whether the Clippers, under Sterling's leadership, violated laws aimed at shielding employees from racial discrimination.

"As an owner, Mr. Sterling has exercised absolute control over his franchise," Wesson wrote in a letter to Silver, dated Sunday. "It has now become imperative to look into how his attitudes on race have governed his leadership of his franchise."

After the council's vote, several members joined a news conference by Garcetti and current and former NBA players outside City Hall to hail the league's decision to ban Sterling for life. They also urged fans to continue supporting Clippers players.

The team is scheduled to take on the Golden State Warriors at 7:30 p.m. in game five of their playoff series at Staples Center. The series is tied 2-2.

--City News Service

johnclarknew April 30, 2014 at 12:51 PM
So Sterling got Silvered! Watching these people fighting it out is like watching what the Romans did to the Christians. This attempt to shift ownership, is what's going on here. Constitutional rights? Forget it.
Scott Zwartz April 30, 2014 at 06:16 PM
Steriing is a horrible human being -- yet, he operate in LA with impunity for decades. His racism was no secret. While society needs to condemn and excommunicate Sterling from decent company, we have to realize that Sterling was and is not unique. We have other racists and thieves in high places and all the other bigwigs cover up for them. This Plantation Mentality which infected Sterling like a virus also infects many other billionaires and politicos. It flows from their gigantic hubris where only what they want counts and screw everyone else. We can see the Sterling Effect operating in the City Budget. We saw it today when the city made Raymond Chan head of LADBS, despite his role in approving the lethal Millennium Earthquake Towers and his admitting to thousands of dollars of illegal campaign donations to Garcetti. It is illegal to donate money in the name of another person. After people questioned where Chan's son, who is still in school, was able to donate so much money to Garcetti, Raymond Chan admitted that he gave the money to his son. If Atty Robert Silverstein had not uncovered the fraudulent earthquake report on Millennium, 10 years from now, Angelenos could have been asking how such a reprehensible man as Chan who allowed the Millennium and then admitted to illegal campaign activity became permanent head of the department. The answer is Hubris. Let's remember that Ken Lay was King of Dallas until Enron went BK. Donald Sterling, Raymond Chan, Philip Aarons, Eric Garcetti, CIM Group, Hal Katersky, Mickey Kantor whose 2020 Commission Report recommends giving millions of dollars to his client, etc. are only of few "leaders" filled with Hubris. Their power does not bode well for L.A.


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