The Los Angeles City Council meets on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m., and in the wake of the explosive reveal last weekend of a leaked conversation between then-President and City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, Councilmembers Kevin DeLeon, and Gil Cedillo, and then-California Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, there was much to discuss.
As RedState reported here, the taped conversation showed Martinez making derisory, racist, and homophobic remarks toward fellow Councilmember Mike Bonin’s adopted son, who happens to be Black. The revelations were immediately followed by calls from all quarters for Martinez, DeLeon, and Cedillo to resign. Martinez did resign from her post as Council president but still remains on the City Council. Los Angeles Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera has resigned from his position.
Bonin was asked to address these remarks, and the calls for Martinez, DeLeon, and Cedillo to resign from the Council.
Due to Bonin’s mismanagement of homelessness in District 11 (Venice Beach), he has had to fight off a recall attempt, as well as navigate troubled political waters in order to hold on to his seat. Most likely because of these issues, Bonin has chosen not to seek re-election.
With this speech, Bonin has effectively resurrected his political career, even though this was not his intent.
Here is the beginning of Mike Bonin’s deeply emotional speech: pic.twitter.com/GVbFNd9xnj
— Julia Wick (@sherlyholmes) October 11, 2022
Bonin was tearful from the beginning and made it plain that he did not want to be there.
“I want to be with my family,” Bonin said.
“These words cut, and they stung. I can never really know, or comprehend, or feel the weight of the daily, relentless racism, Black racism that my son is going to face. But man [big sigh]… it’s a rage.”
Bonin hit all the marks, discussing the way he and his spouse grew up, and how they were treated in the past because they were gay. Bonin reinforced,
“A lot of what was on those tapes stung. I’ve heard the homophobic tropes, I’ve heard the anti-Semitic remarks,” he expressed.
Bonin also addressed how Martinez, Cedillo, DeLeon, and Herrera were intent on undermining coalition building among the disparate racial and ethnic groups in Los Angeles.
“I’m outraged and sickened by it,” he said.
Bonin then addressed the need to forgive, and that any extension of forgiveness needs to involve action on the part of the ones requesting it.
“There’s a lot of people asking for forgiveness. It’s a good first step, but first you must resign as an act of forgiveness.”
Boom. A full shot across the bow. While he did not mention their names in this speech, Bonin has called for the resignation of Martinez, Cedillo, DeLeon, and Herrera.
Our family statement about today's ugly and hateful news. pic.twitter.com/0fPPXwsS5B
— Mike Bonin (@mikebonin) October 9, 2022
“Let me be clear. People should not ask me for forgiveness. I can’t forgive them because it’s not my prerogative. It’s the prerogative of a boy who doesn’t really understand what is going on!”
“In the meantime, people who love him are going to help him understand when the school mentions something, or a well-meaning stranger stops him on the street to ask what it is like. It’s not my place to forgive the slurs or the treatment. It’s not my place to forgive the overwhelming, anti-Black racism. It’s not my place to forgive the coordinated effort disenfranchise his people.”
Bonin ended his speech with an appeal to love, an appeal to hope, and an appeal to the city of Los Angeles to work toward overcoming this scandal and come together to heal the racial divide.
“First, today, I need to focus on love. I need to focus my mind, my heart, and my family’s attention on all those who showed kindness and love to my wounded, hurting family.”
“On these tapes I have heard the worst of what L.A. is. From you, I am hearing what the best of Los Angeles is.”
“Los Angeles will heal. We can be, with a lot of work, a city where our reality matches our aspirations.”
Bonin praised his fellow Black Councilmembers for their kindness and strength, and that they were committed to building coalitions, rather than tearing each other down.
“I have more than hope. In the pain, in all of this, I have more than hope. I have faith that that can happen.”
The contentious Council meeting, which had a difficult and raucous start before Bonin gave his speech, is still occurring, with the citizens of Los Angeles making public comments on the matter.