Alameda County Democrats Call for Resignation of White Official Who Used Racial Slur

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Laython Landis.
  • Laython Landis.
The Alameda County Democratic Central Committee called for Oro Loma Sanitary District board member Laython Landis to resign this week following his use of a racial slur during a meeting in December.

The sanitary district, which services customers in San Leandro, San Lorenzo, and unincorporated Alameda County, censured Landis last month and removed him from all of the board’s standing committees for a number of inappropriate acts, including him uttering the phrase, “It’s raining cats and dogs and [n-word] babies.”

Landis, 88, apologized for using the description, but continued to use the remark later during television and radio interviews. Landis, who is white, said Tuesday afternoon that he will not resign and plans on running for re-election in 2016.

His unwillingness to leave the board and the perception that he is not acknowledging the severity of the incident prompted local Democrats to call for his ouster.

“In light of this behavior, your continued presence on the board is an obstacle to the board’s ability to meet its obligation to respect all of its constituents,” said a letter from county Democrats read Tuesday by Royce Kelley, the vice-chair of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee. The committee asked Landis to resign effectively immediately.

While Landis sat calmly at the dais, other speakers made pointed remarks toward him. Four others called for his resignation. He made no public comment during the meeting.

Susan Snell, a 35-year resident of San Leandro, says she will initiate a recall of Landis because of his behavior. She believes the roughly 15,000 signatures needed for a recall will be easy.

“Your liability to the district will only increase. You will become a malignant and malevolent blight on the district.” Snell told Landis. “I suggest that you resign and retire while you still have some shred of dignity left, and contemplate, perhaps, how times have changed and you have not.”

Marlon McWilson, the president of the Alameda County Board of Education, says because of Landis’ censure and the board’s decision to remove him from board committees, he effectively serves no purpose other than holding a seat.

“Leadership would be stepping down without having to go through a recall process. Leadership would be you actually acknowledging your fault in this situation without having to be forced to resign,” said McWilson, who represents Alameda and portions of Oakland on the county education board. “From one elected official to another, I would ask you to step down from this board.”

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