Westside Voice joins the chorus of elected and community leaders in calling for the immediate resignation from office of L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez, Councilmember Kevin de Leon, Councilmember Gil Cedillo, and L.A. Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera.

On Sunday, a recording of a lengthy conversation between these four individuals was widely reported and snippets played over social, local, and even national media. In the recording, Martinez lashed out at Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin with a homophobic remark, calling him a “little bitch.” She also complained that Bonin brings his adopted Black son around town to public events using him “as an accessory.” Herself a mother, Martinez didn’t have the humanity to consider that as a busy elected official, Bonin must often find the time to bond with his son during family-friendly social events that allow him to get comfortable with crowds and his father’s colleagues? Shameful.

Martinez then attacks Bonin’s young son directly, saying he was bouncing around a parade float and misbehaving, calling him “su negrito,” a derogatory term in Spanish for a Black person and “ese changuito,” which translates as “that little monkey.” Compounding the racist and offensive verbal abuse was the threat of physical abuse, with Martinez saying that Bonin raises his son “like a little white kid” who is “in need of a beat down,” remarking, “Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.” Perhaps her council colleague Joe Buscaino should redirect his call to the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) on Ms. Martinez.

While much of the blame rests with Ms. Martinez, we call for the others to resign for their indifference and/or silence while Ms. Martinez vomited up this vile and abusive language. Such language needs to be confronted while it is happening, and this news source had thought much higher of Councilmember de Leon in particular. We would have hoped he would have told Martinez in the moment that this kind of talk was unacceptable.

Martinez released a rather lame apology on Sunday, stating, “In a moment of intense frustration and anger, I let the situation get the best of me and I hold myself accountable for these comments. For that I am sorry.” How is she sorry? Sorry that she was caught in the recording? And far from seeming like a moment of anger and frustration, Martinez can be heard laughing, as if she thought everything she was saying was a harmless joke.

One business leader Tweeted Sunday, “Racism has no place in politics.” But racism has no place anywhere. Still, in supposedly progressive Los Angeles, among liberal Democratic politicians, one would think we could expect not only “better,” but outright anti-racist language from our supposedly progressive leaders. Instead, this conversation was one that could have been mouthed by white, racist Trump supporters. It’s a shame this also dominated the news over a weekend when many Black and Latinx elected and community leaders took to social media to try and gain attention to and rally support for Black and Latinx unity.

It is definitely clear that we have a ways to go, even here in “liberal L.A.,” in talking about race, sexuality, and mixed families. Let those conversations begin and ask questions about one another’s experiences and what those in protected classes or minorities must endure. Sympathize. Empathize. Be better humans toward one another. But for today, we would like to see Ms. Martinez and the others resign from public life and prove their apologies are sincere through consistent and ongoing social action.

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