The Long Beach City Council is preparing to excuse Councilmember Roberto Uranga’s absence from council meetings as he works toward recovering from a stroke he suffered in late September.
The council asked the city attorney Tuesday night to prepare a resolution that would excuse Uranga for his recent absences, something that is required by the City Charter to prevent his seat from being declared vacant.
Uranga was last present at a council meeting on Sept. 13, and Tuesday’s meeting would have been the second consecutive meeting he missed. Because of meeting cancelations and the city’s practice of not holding meetings on the last Tuesday of the month, Tuesday was Uranga’s second consecutive meeting missed.
According to the City Charter, unless their absences are excused, a member of the council can miss only four straight meetings before their seat is considered vacated. After the fifth unexcused absence, a special election must be called to fill it. Uranga was recently reelected in June to serve a third and final term on the council that runs through December 2024.
Uranga suffered the stroke shortly before the death of his youngest son, Tito Uranga, who had been battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Tito, 34, died on Sept. 22, and on Sept. 25, Councilmember Uranga’s office put out a notice stating that he was taking time away to focus on his health after “experiencing a medical emergency,” which it clarified last week was a stroke that occurred Sept. 21.
A representative of his office has not responded to calls seeking information about when he might return to his council duties.
In recent history, there have been a number of special elections to fill vacated seats for the Long Beach City Council, but they were due to members of the council winning elections for positions in the California legislature. None have been health-related.