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Column: Council President Nury Martinez shamed the office

Resign from the presidency?

It’s not sufficient.

Nury Martinez has to clean up his office, turn off the lights and disappear.

It is morally compromised, racially divided and politically damaged.

“I take responsibility for what I have said and there is no apology for these comments,” Martinez said in a statement about stepping down from the top job on the Los Angeles City Council.

When I started reading what she had to say, I assumed she was going to let the city know that she was resigning completely.

That’s what taking responsibility would mean.

But she didn’t. And now, a month away from municipal and municipal elections in a city that already had a problem with voter confidence, amid corruption and unaddressed challenges, we have this new scandal of a scandal involving ugly remarks by the one of the most powerful people in local government.

Martinez insulted Councilman Mike Bonin and called his young black son a monkey. Isn’t that enough to make him ashamed to retire from public service?

She called Bonin, who is white and gay, a “little bitch” who worked on the “black” side.

She lashed out at the Oaxacas, calling them small, dark and ugly.

All those redneck remarks became public with the release of a recording made a year ago, and she’s not packing her bags?

I reached out to Miriham Antonio, a USC graduate and freshman law student at UC Irvine, because I know how determined she is to become a community leader herself, and I know how she was inspired by people she saw as role models.

“As a woman from Angeleno and Oaxaca, I am both furious and saddened by the racist and insensitive comments made by the three representatives of the LA City Council against the indigenous and black community,” said Antonio, whom I met when she was leading a voter registration campaign. as a student at Fairfax High School.

“These comments are representative of the racism and colorism that black and Indigenous people continue to experience in this country,” Antonio said. “These ‘representatives’ are a disgrace to Latinos and Angelenos; they don’t deserve to stay in office.

By “they,” she was referring to the others overheard on the tape of the conversation, in which the focus was on redrawing the city, with the goal of putting more Latinos in power. They would be council members Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, as well as union leader Ron Herrera.

Their comments were incrementally less offensive than Martinez’s. But political consultant Mike Trujillo argued that residents of the Martinez and De León neighborhoods could pay the price for their transgressions. (Cedillo lost his re-election bid and will soon be removed from office.)

“If you’re a constituent of theirs,” Trujillo said, you want your rep to be as efficient as possible, whether the issue is homelessness, garbage pick-up or filling potholes. “So who’s going to be the first person to second Nury’s motion?” Do you really want to be the first person? »

Jane Demian, who is on the neighborhood council for the district of De León, was disappointed in him but shocked by what Martinez said.

“I’m glad she’s stepped down as chair of the board, and may have to step down altogether,” said Demian, who has worked hard in her community to address homelessness. “My trust in Martinez has been destroyed.”

The fair representation discussed on the record is a legitimate issue in a city where Latinos are underrepresented in elective and leadership positions. But the petty, foul, and demeaning language used by participants may serve to sabotage the cause and further divide the city.

“It’s a big story that has many tentacles,” said political consultant Dermot Givens.

Indeed, it is.

Who recorded the conversation and why? Who released the recording and why?

Could this have something to do with a corruption investigation at a building that offers full-time employment opportunities for federal investigators?

And what effect might that have on the mayoral race between Rep. Karen Bass (who says she’s a consensus builder) and Rick Caruso (who says he’s running to end corruption and corruption). poor leadership of career politicians)?

Already, there are messy maneuvers behind the scenes to determine who will slip into the slot of the chairman of the council and try to put out the dumpster fire. But I don’t know if anyone has a big enough fire hose.

Meanwhile, incumbent Mayor Eric Garcetti is waiting to hear if his appointment as President Biden’s ambassador to India is on hold due to a sexual harassment scandal involving one of his former top aides.

“There’s no playbook for that,” Trujillo said of the latest fiasco. “It’s pretty unheard of. I think each of these people who want to become a better person — and I believe they do — probably have to step away from City Hall for a while.

Martinez should be the first to go.


Los Angeles Times

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