For 42 years Laython Landis has been a member of the Oro Loma Sanitary District board. Before that, he was a member of the San Leandro City Council. During all that time he has habitually made racist and misogynistic comments for which he has no regrets.
Finally, his fellow board members decided last week to censure him for his inappropriate remarks. At a special meeting which Landis did not attend, the rest of the board voted 4-0 in favor of censure, the strongest punishment they can impose on him.
The board was finally moved to take action after Landis commented on the stormy weather the area was experiencing at a December 10 meeting saying, “It looks like it’s going to rain cats and dogs and n*gger babies today.”
Landis owned up to making the remark immediately while insisting that he always avoids using the offending term — unless he is using that specific phrase claiming that it is a common saying that has been around for years.
“It’s a saying that’s been around for years — I’ve said it many times,” he said. “I probably offended a few who take offense to the word.”
Contra Costa Times reported that after running an online search, they found the phrase used in a few books and one newspaper article dating around the turn of the 20th century, hardly a “common saying” as Landis claims.
The board says that Landis has a long history of making improper misogynist remarks to female employees of the board and attending official events when he was so intoxicated that he was “physically incapable of controlling himself.”
Landis denies that charge as well calling it an exaggeration.
“I know I’ve had some drinks at a convention and needed help to get back to my room,” he said. “But I’ve always been capable of controlling myself.”
Board President Timothy Becker said that the resolution of censure was the most punishment the board was able to hand out due to the fact that Landis is an elected official. Although the rest of the board has called on him to resign Landis has refused to do so saying that it would be a “disservice to the people who voted for me.”
The board is looking into the possible legal options that may be open to remove Landis from office but has not specified what those options might be.
This is the first time the Oro Loma board has ever censured a member.
Watch a report from KPIX5 below.