LA City Council member Nury Martinez resigns, two days after stepping down from his leadership role



CNN

Member of the Los Angeles City Council Nouri Martinez resigned from her seat on the District 6 council, two days after leaving her position as president for making racist remarks.

“To my constituents – Serving you has been a privilege and a privilege that I do not relinquish lightly. You are my neighbors, my friends and the reason for this service,” Martinez said, in part, in a press release Wednesday. “I hope you stay committed and keep fighting for your fair share of the city’s resources. It’s hard to say goodbye, but please know that I was in this fight for you.

“While I take time to look within and reflect, I ask that you give me space and privacy,” the press release concluded.

CNN has reached out to Martinez’s office to find out if his resignation is effective immediately.

Her resignation comes days after audio posted online revealed she made racist comments about another council member’s family and said that colleague’s son “needs to be beaten.”

The remarks were part of a leaked audio that was posted anonymously on Reddit and obtained by the Los Angeles Times. According to the newspaper, the audio details a conversation between Martinez, council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, who resigned from his post on Monday.

Martinez publicly apologized for her comments on Monday and resigned as chair of the board. On Tuesday, she also took time off from the council.

Acting Board Chairman Mitch O’Farrell called Martinez’s resignation Wednesday a “necessary first step” toward accountability and called on de León and Cedillo to resign as well..

“There is no other way forward,” O’Farrell said in a statement.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called the resignation “a good decision”, adding that “racism and hate speech can never be ignored”. The mayor also called on the other two council members to make the same decision.

California Governor Gavin Newsom also called the resignation a ‘good move’, saying his comments ‘have no place in our state or in our politics, and we all need to behave better to live the values. that so many of us struggle with every day. protect.”

A day earlier, O’Farrell had proposed several changes to help move the city forward at a loud and contentious council meeting – the first meeting since the scandal broke.

He proposed “major reform of the city charter, the city council and our approach to redistricting, representation – the topics at the center of this crisis” and called for the expansion of the council and a commission independent redistricting to map the representation of the “diverse metropolis”. ”

O’Farrell introduced a motion for a ballot measure that could be put to voters to decide whether the council should expand.

The number of members – 15 – hasn’t changed since 1925, when Los Angeles had fewer than a million people, O’Farrell said.

The city’s population has since quadrupled, according to US census data.

“This council should reflect and represent the residents we serve,” O’Farrell said. “A ballot measure that increases the number of council seats to help us achieve that goal and get Angelenos involved in the process, as well as an immediate redistricting process, if people decide they want an expanded city council.”

When the council reconvenes, members will discuss another ballot measure that calls for an independent redistricting commission that would determine the boundaries set every 10 years.

A city council meeting originally scheduled for Wednesday has been moved to Friday, O’Farrell said. The meeting was moved after the council lost quorum – 10 out of 15 members required – due to protesters interrupting and chanting “No resignation, no meeting” and “Rest or we close”.

Acting Los Angeles City Council President Mitch O'Farrell stressed the need for better representation on the council.

According The Los Angeles Times, the leaked audio captured conversation from October 2021 involving Martinez, Cedillo, de León and Herrera.

Much of the conversation focused on the maps proposed by the city’s redistricting commission and council members’ frustration with them, as well as the need to “ensure that heavily Latino neighborhoods don’t lose out.” no economic assets” in the process that only happens once a decade, according to the Times.

Council members then discussed council member Mike Bonin, a white male. In excerpts from the leaked audio published by The Times, Martinez is heard recounting a conversation and saying “Bonin thinks he’s f**king Black.”

According to the Times, Martinez says Bonin appeared with his son on a float at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade and “treated his young black son like he was a prop.” The boy is 8 years old, according to a Facebook post from his father.

The Times reported that Martinez also said of Bonin’s child, “Parece changuito”, or “He’s like a monkey”.

In the leaked audio, Martinez can be heard talking about Bonin’s son allegedly misbehaving during the parade by hanging from a railing of their float, saying “that kid is going to knock us down.”

“They’re raising him like a little white kid,” Martinez said in the audio released by The Times. “I was like, this kid needs a beat. Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.

CNN was unable to verify the audio recording. But the fallout was quick.

Council member Cedillo issued a public statement saying he should have interjected during the conversation.

“I want to start by apologizing. Although I was not involved in the conversation in question, I was sometimes present during this meeting last year,” Cedillo said on Sunday. “It is my instinct to hold others accountable when they use derogatory or racist language. Obviously, I should have intervened.

León’s council member also said he should have acted differently.

“On this day, I failed to live up to the expectations we set for our leaders – and I will hold myself to a higher standard,” he said in a written statement on Sunday.

“There were comments made in this meeting that are totally inappropriate; and I regret that I seemed to condone and even contribute to some insensitive comments made about a colleague and his family in private. I personally contacted this colleague.

Officials near and far – including Senator Dianne Feinstein and President Joe Biden – thinks the board members who took part in the taped conversation should resign.

“At a time when our country has seen a surge in racially motivated hate crimes, it’s critical that elected officials set a positive example on behalf of everyone they represent,” said Feinstein, the U.S. Senator from California. .

A motion to elect a new board chair will be heard next Tuesday.

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