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Raaaacist LA City Council Prez Resigns For Real, We're Truly Sorry She's Not Sorry
Either way, she's out. Two more to go?
After first resigning from her position as president of the Los Angeles City Council and taking a leave of absence, Nury Martinez resigned altogether from the Council yesterday , after the Los Angeles Times on Sunday published leaked recordings of Martinez making incredibly racist and homophobic remarks at a 2021 meeting. After the audio was published, calls to resign for Martinez and two other Council members heard in the recording came from all corners of California politics, and even from the White House.
In a long resignation statement reviewing what an illustrious career she'd had, Martinez wrote, "It is with a broken heart that I resign my seat for Council District 6, the community I grew up in and my home," and told her constituents what an honor it had been to represent them, adding, "It’s hard to say goodbye, but please know that I was in this fight for you." Martinez also told her staff she was "sorry that we're ending it this way," while thanking them and city employees for the great work they do.
The statement was completely devoid of any apology for the racist and homophobic comments that led (finally) to her resignation, not even in the classic "I'm sorry if anyone was offended" format. The closest she came was in a paragraph thanking her family, in which she acknowledged to her daughter that "I have fallen short recently of the expectations we have for our family" — which, no, didn't mention anything about the truly rotten things Martinez said.
Weirdly, the statement's penultimate line suggests that maybe Martinez still thinks she's a role model somehow:
And last, to all little Latina girls across this city — I hope I’ve inspired you to dream beyond that which you can see.
Just don't get caught being racist on mic, girls!
Martinez made the offensive remarks during an hour-long meeting in October 2021, when she and two other Council members, Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, met with union leader Ron Herrera to discuss redistricting plans. She insulted fellow Council member Mike Bonin and his adopted Black son, describing Bonin, who's white and gay, as a "little bitch" who "thinks he's fucking Black," and saying that Bonin treats the child as " "an accessory ... s u negrito , like on the side." Martinez also called that kid “ el changuito," which translates as "the little monkey." Very nice lady.
Council member Kevin de León chimed in with his own homophobic comment, exclaiming that Bonin carried his kid around like "when Nury brings her Goyard bag or the Louis Vuitton bag.” In case you were wondering why people have been calling for the other two guys at the meeting to resign, that's part of it.
While she was at it, Martinez also complained about how the little boy had behaved during a parade — in 2017, because why not hold a grudge for years? — saying that the kid could have tipped over a float he was riding on and griping that the child needed some forceful correction:
They’re raising him like a little white kid ... I was like, this kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back. There’s nothing you can do to control him.
Once the conversation turned from the need to beat up a Black child to teach him some manners, Martinez went on to call Oaxacan people living in a Koreatown neighborhood "a lot of little short dark people" and complaining,
“I was like, I don’t know where these people are from, I don’t know what village they came [from], how they got here,” Martinez said, before adding “ Tan feos ” — “They’re ugly.”
So there's a hell of a role model for all the little Latina girls of Los Angeles, as long as they're not too indigenous and ugly.
The LA Times explains that, following Martinez's resignation, acting Council President Mitch O'Farrell will
designate the office of the chief legislative analyst, which advises the council on policy matters, as the nonvoting caretaker of Martinez’s vacant seat.
That process has been relatively common immediately following a vacancy at City Hall. The council would have to decide whether to appoint a temporary replacement or leave it without a voting member until there is a special election.
While California pols are issuing statements re-condemning Martinez's remarks and expressing relief that she did the right thing (finally) by resigning, this isn't over yet, since plenty of people want the resignations of the two other Council members on the recordings, De León and Cedillo. Ron Herrera of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor stepped down Monday.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti called for their resignations in a statement on Martinez's "painful" decision, adding that "Angelenos deserve a government focused squarely on meeting challenges in their neighborhoods that are too serious to risk a paralyzed City Council."
Council Member Marqueece Harris-Dawson said, of the departures of Herrera and Martinez, "Two down. Two to go," and said that the Council shouldn't vote on any policies until De León and Cedillo resign as well.
So far, it's not clear whether they' manage to stay on; the LA Times reports that De León has said that he regretted what he'd been caught saying in the recording, saying he “fell short.” Cedillo, for his part, "said he should have intervened during the conversation but did not mock his colleagues or make racist statements." So he's kind of the good guy, if your moral relativism is leaning that way.
The Council is considering a number of reforms proposed following the release of the recording, including a voter referendum to expand the size of the Council, as well as creating a committee to address corruption and handing the process of redistricting to an independent commission.
Also too, now that heads have started to roll, the hottest political game in California is trying to guess who leaked the recording, and why. To say nothing of who'll be the first to make a big-budget potboiler movie or TV series about the scandal.
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