Los Angeles Council president resigns after racist remarks

Los Angeles Council president resigns after racist remarks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The president of the Los Angeles City Council resigned from the post Monday after she was heard making racist comments and other coarse remarks in a leaked recording of a conversation with other Latino leaders.

Council President Nury Martinez issued an apology and expressed shame.

“In the end, it is not my apologies that matter most; it will be the actions I take from this day forward. I hope that you will give me the opportunity to make amends,” she said in a statement. “Therefore, effective immediately I am resigning as President of the Los Angeles City Council.”

The statement did not say she would resign her council seat. There was no immediate response to a call and email sent to her spokesperson.

Martinez said in the recorded conversation that white Councilman Mike Bonin handled his young Black son as if he were an “accessory” and described the son as behaving “Parece changuito,” or “like a monkey,” the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

Martinez also referred to Bonin as a “little bitch” and at another point mocked Oaxacans, the Times said.

“I see a lot of little short dark people,” Martinez said in reference to a particular area of the largely Hispanic Koreatown neighborhood.

“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, adding “Tan feos” — “They’re ugly.”

The recording’s content rocked the political establishment just weeks before elections for the mayor’s office and several council seats.

Bonin and his husband, Sean Arian, issued a statement calling on Martinez, De León and Herrera to resign.

“The entirety of the recorded conversation … displayed a repeated and vulgar anti-Black sentiment, and a coordinated effort to weaken Black political representation in Los Angeles,” they said.

The conversation was recorded in October 2021, and other participants were Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, the Times reported. The overall discussion was about frustrations with redistricting maps produced by a city commission.

The Times reported that the approximately hourlong audio was posted on Reddit by a now-suspended user, and that it was unclear who recorded the audio and whether anyone else was present at the meeting.

Martinez initially issued an apology after the Times article appeared online.

“In a moment of intense frustration and anger, I let the situation get the best of me and I hold myself accountable for these comments. For that I am sorry,” she said.

“The context of this conversation was concern over the redistricting process and concern about the potential negative impact it might have on communities of color,” she said. “My work speaks for itself. I’ve worked hard to lead this city through its most difficult time.”

Martinez, whose district website describes her as “a glass-ceiling shattering leader who brings profound life experience as the proud daughter of working-class immigrants,” was elected to the council in 2013 and became the council’s first Latina president in 2020.

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