Mayoral candidates Rick Caruso and Karen Bass, the Los Angeles Times editorial board, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the president of the NAACP Los Angeles branch, Los Angeles Unified School Board President Kelly Gonez, LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, and many lesser-known names have all have called on three Democrat Los Angeles City Council members to resign after they were caught using racist language in leaked audio. Notably missing from the list: Governor Gavin Newsom.
Newsom did not formally demand resignations Monday, but said this: “These comments have no place in our state, or in our politics.”
The LA Times editorial board did not mince words:
There is no way she [former council president Nury Martinez] can fairly represent her constituents after leaked audio captured her deplorable and racially divisive comments, her political machinations to maintain power at the expense of communities, and her use of racist, homophobic tropes to describe her colleague, and worse, his young son. She should leave elected office immediately.
Although Martinez apologized, the Times wrote that the mea culpa was “wholly insufficient.” Martinez actually did resign Monday—just not from the council; instead, she resigned from the presidency of the council. A nice little move she used hoping to take a little heat off the situation. It doesn’t appear to have worked, as real-estate developer Caruso is one of many who were not satisfied:
My statement on the leaked LA City Councilmember recordings. pic.twitter.com/sAs648WSHT
— Rick J. Caruso (@RickCarusoLA) October 9, 2022
The hateful comments by sitting LA Council Members and LA's top labor leader about communities of color, including Black and Oaxacan people, have been rightfully and roundly condemned. I stand in solidarity with those calling for meaningful action to remove them from power. 🧵
— Sheila Kuehl (@SheilaKuehl) October 10, 2022
The brouhaha is over audio leaked by an unknown Reddit account that featured Martinez, Councilmembers Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera discussing redistricting maps in a 2021 meeting.
Their discussion, however, was peppered with coarse language, insults, and racist tropes. Martinez was the worse offender, expressing her dislike of District Attorney George Gascon (“f**k that guy; he’s with the blacks”), calling City Council member Mike Bonin, a gay man, a “little bitch,” and describing Bonin’s adopted son, who is black, a “little monkey.” She also compared Bonin’s son to an “accessory,” while de León agreed that the boy was handled like a Louis Vuitton bag. Martinez also called the child “su negrito,” a Spanish diminutive term for a Black person that can be considered demeaning. Still not finished, she criticized the child’s behavior, adding, “I was like, this kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.”
After the story broke, protesters appeared at Martinez’s house Monday evening (the LA City Council passed a law last year making protesting outside a targeted home illegal):
Outside the home of LA City Council President Nury Martinez, protesters are asking for her resignation and playing the leaked recordings on a loudspeaker. pic.twitter.com/PJNgXOpfQG
— Jon peltz (@JonnyPeltz) October 10, 2022
It’s going to be hard for these three council members to keep their positions amidst this unrelenting criticism and demands for resignations. On Tuesday, expect those calls to continue, and don’t be surprised if national figures like Joe Biden jump on the pile. Then again, avoiding the transgressions of the Left has worked for him so far, so maybe he will stay quiet.
A huge question remains, however: who leaked the audio, and why? RedState’s managing editor Jennifer Van Laar has thoughts:
Many veteran Los Angeles political observers believe the audio was leaked to hurt people viewed as more moderate Democrats in order to install council members who are even more aligned with organizations like BLM, the People’s City Council, and Democratic Socialists of America.
I’d have to say, unfortunately, that’s a pretty believable explanation.
Related: How deep the rot goes –>>