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EDITORIAL : HERNANDEZ MUST GO COUNCIL MEMBERS CHICK AND FEUER SHOWED LEADERSHIP AND RESPONSIBILITY BY URGING HERNANDEZ TO RESIGN.

WELL done, Laura Chick and Mike Feuer.

The two Los Angeles City Council members finally broke the council's deafening code of silence Thursday and called on Councilman Mike Hernandez to step down.

It is the first time any council members have asked Hernandez to resign since he was arrested in August on suspicion of cocaine possession. Chick and Feuer showed sound judgment and leadership. Too bad their colleagues couldn't do the same.

Hernandez reacted defiantly, refusing to step aside. Apparently he believes if he keeps his nose clean, it's the same as if he'd never been caught.

Wrong.

Hernandez is scheduled to appear in court Monday. He is expected to enter a guilty plea and enter a drug-diversion program which, once successfully completed, will enable him to avoid jail and a criminal record.

Again we say Hernandez is to be commended for seeking treatment and getting his life in order.

But the 43-year-old councilman has admitted to a lifelong battle with the bottle in addition to owning up that he bought and used cocaine. Claiming a few weeks of treatment proves he is conquering his addiction is ludicrous.

Hernandez is proving not his fitness to serve public office, but his inability to distinguish right from wrong.

He seems emboldened by the council's acquiescence. And that makes Chick's and Feuer's public pronouncement so important.

Chick spoke the truth when she said the council's silence sends a ``potent message to the public that we condone what you have done.''

Council members must be held to a higher degree of standards and accountability. Otherwise, why not allow everyone to break the law and get off?

Say, a schoolteacher, for example. If a councilman can be exonerated and protected in his job, then why shouldn't the same hold true for the Burbank high school science teacher and tennis coach who was found snorting cocaine in his classroom during a lunch break last week?

In the wake of the arrest of the Burbank teacher, the no-standards, no-consequences argument pushed by Hernandez and his apologists becomes all the more untenable.

Do the right thing, Councilman Hernandez: Resign.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Oct 26, 1997
Words:351
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