The LA City Council president who resigned her position as head honcho after audio of her referring to a fellow council member’s African-American son as a “monkey” was leaked has left the board entirely amid backlash from the city’s multi-racial community. Nury Martinez stepped down after additional audio was released of her disparaging members of the Jewish and Armenian communities also leaked – sparking outrage and protest.
The council’s first Latina president released a less-than-sincere statement, which reeked of victimhood and included a half-hearted “apology.”
“It is with a broken heart that I resign my seat for Council District 6, the community I grew up in and my home,” she wrote in a statement composed mostly of nostalgia for her time in office, The Daily Beast reported.
Martinez – a Latina-American – fell under heavy scrutiny for comments she made during a redistricting meeting that denigrated not only members of the city’s Black community – but her own as well. Martinez referred to Oaxacan Angelenos living in Koreatown as “feo” – Spanish for ugly – and called them “little short dark people,” bringing protesters out in droves who called for the former council president’s resignation.
The disgraced former council member’s replacement – Acting Council President Mitch O’Farrell — commented on the resignation of his ex-colleague.
“For Los Angeles to heal, and for its City Council to govern, there must be accountability,”Acting Council President Mitch O’Farrell said in a statement. “The resignation of Councilmember Nury Martinez is the first, necessary step in that process. To that end, I repeat my call on Councilmembers de Leon and Cedillo to also resign. There is no other way forward.”
While Martinez’s decision to leave the council is a start, she wasn’t alone on the call. Fellow members Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo – along with the L.A. Country Federation of Labor’s leader Ron Herrera — were present during the vile conversation mocking Los Angeles’ Black and Indigenous residents.
Herrera resigned at a meeting of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s executive board on Monday, according to The New York Times.
After the audio was made public, President Joe Biden weighed in on the controversy, calling for council members Martinez, Cedillo, and de León to resign. White House Press Secretary Karin Jean-Pierre called the members’ comments “Unacceptable” and “appalling,” adding that “President Biden believes all three council members should give up their seats.”
Racism is pervasive, and not relegated to one group – even one’s own, as demonstrated by the rhetoric on the audio. It needs to be rooted out, exposed, and extinguished without hesitation. It’s not over until all offending members resign.
Read her full statement below.
Here is her full statement. pic.twitter.com/NEsXoqUhn3
— Julia Wick (@sherlyholmes) October 12, 2022
After outraged protesters shut down Tuesday’s LA city council session, neither Martinez, Cedillo, or de León bothered to show up on Wednesday. Cedillo and de León have yet to follow their colleague’s lead and resign.
Original reporting by Matt Taylor at The Daily Beast.
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