Calls for the resignation of now-former City Council President Nury Martinez and fellow Council members Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo continued to grow on Monday as more elected leaders, as well as Angelino citizens, have given more pressure on them to leave office.
The comments, which were leaked on the website Reddit Sunday, quickly became one of the top stories in the entire country within only a few hours. Filled with racial slurs and derogatory racial comments, the comments, which can be read here and here, caught many in the political world in SoCal and California off guard. The coverage caused all three affected Council members to release statements of apology, but did little to diffuse tensions.
“These comments have managed to piss everyone off in LA,” explained “Marco,” a political aide in LA City Hall, to the Globe on Monday. “Like I got a text early on Sunday saying I had to work that day. I asked why, only to turn on my tablet and see exactly why. I kept saying to my boss on the phone maybe it wasn’t so bad, but she just said ‘Keep reading.’ As soon as I saw the monkey comment, I knew I wasn’t going to have time off for awhile.'”
While there were some initial calls for resignations Sunday, most notably from Councilman Mike Bonin, who many of the comments were directed at, Monday brought a flood of new resignation demands. Council President Nury Martinez had responded Monday morning by resigning her council presidency, but it did little to assuage the growing number of detractors, who wanted a full resignation.
“I take responsibility for what I said and there are no excuses for those comments. I’m so sorry,” wrote Martinez on Monday. “I sincerely apologize to the people I hurt with my words: to my colleagues, their families, especially to Mike, Sean, and your son.
“I ask for forgiveness from my colleagues and from the residents of this city that I love so much. 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.
“Therefore, effective immediately I am resigning as President of the Los Angeles City Council.”
Resignation calls grow
Throughout Monday, lawmakers and organizations from the right to the left and in all points in between asked for resignations from the three, creating a unified front in LA politics that is rarely seen. As the Globe reported today, Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, The LA Public Defenders, the United Teachers of Los Angeles, the LA County Democratic Party, the NAACP, multiple local politicians in LA County, and LA City Council members Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Nithya Raman have called on Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, and Kevin de León to resign. Even the LA Police Protective League, who have been at odds with Councilman Bonin over virtually every decision he has made, came out against the comments and to Bonin’s defense.
LA Police Protective League Statement on Racist Comments Made by Councilmembers pic.twitter.com/lnKrlNzEtS
— Los Angeles Police Protective League (@LAPPL) October 10, 2022
Also notable were the two candidates for Mayor of LA, Rick Caruso and Karen Bass. Although currently locked in a close race, both candidates called for the three Councilmembers to resign, seemingly throwing politics away for the day.
“I am calling on City Council President Nury Martinez to do the right thing and immediately resign her office,” said Caruso on Monday. “I believe councilman Kevin DeLeon should do the same, as should my friend, Councilman Gill Cedillo. I do believe that in their hearts they are better people than the vile comments we heard on that tape.”
Bass added that all three, plus Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera who was with them during the comments, should resign.”I’m convening a diverse group of leaders from across the city to lay out an action plan to move us toward unity and progress,” Bass said. “To move forward as a city, we must move past the politics of divide and conquer. There is no place for division and hate in Los Angeles.”
Commenters noted that resignation calls are continuing to grow and are expected to stay strong heading further into the week.
“Let’s put this in perspective,” Maria Costa, a Los Angeles pollster who focuses on Latino communities, told the Globe on Monday. Martinez, de León, and Cedillo just got the LA teachers union, the NAACP, LA police defenders, both Caruso and Bass, and both the Democrats and Republicans to agree on something. This never happens, especially in a city like LA. That’s how bad these comments were and how many people they offended. Even their supporters are bailing on them right now.”
“As Monday goes into Tuesday, this going to keep up. And with the Mayoral debate tomorrow, you can bet that this will come up. And Bass, who has support from Martinez, might be facing a bit of a hot seat. But for right now, everyone is watching them to see what they do next. If they don’t resign, they’ll just end up pariahs.”
As of Monday evening, none of the three have resigned. Councilman Mitch O’Farrell has been elevated to acting Council President until a new one can be formally selected.
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