San Gabriel Councilman-elect Chin Ho Liao was the second highest vote-getter in the city's March elections, but his first time on the council dais last week was as a witness under cross-examination.
The City Council voted not to seat Liao after resident Fred Paine filed a complaint alleging that Liao's true residence is outside of the city's borders. Though Liao has filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court to contest the council's vote, the city has also created its own hearing process to determine Liao's residency.
Jessica Levinson, an elections law professor at Loyola Law School, called the council's actions "atypical" and "fairly inappropriate."
"The City Council has a clear conflict of interest," Levinson said. "It's ousted incumbents, purporting to have the jurisdiction and power to adjudicate whether their victorious challengers can be seated."