Nury Martinez resigns from LA City Council following backlash over leaked audio tapes
LOS ANGELES - Following backlash over racially charged remarks, Nury Martinez has resigned from the Los Angeles City Council, she announced Wednesday.
Martinez released a statement saying in part, "It is with a broken heart that I resign my seat for Council District 6, the community I grew up in and my home. To my constituents - Serving you has been a privilege and one that I don’t give up lightly. You are my neighbors, my friends, and the reason for this service."
She also addressed her colleagues, staff, city employees and family.
"To my staff - I’m sorry that we’re ending it this way. This is no reflection on you. I know you all will continue to do great work and fight for our district. I’ll be cheering you on," the statement read.
Her resignation comes days after audio tapes were leaked of a conversation she had last year with council members Kevin de Leon, Gil Cedillo, and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, in which racist remarks were made toward council member Mike Bonin's 2-year-old adopted son.
On Monday, Martinez resigned as council president and on Tuesday she announced she would be taking a "leave of absence." Following the leaked audio tapes, demands for her resignation, along with de Leon's and Cedillo, have grown. Large crowds have gathered at City Hall, many protesting during the council's meeting, calling for the three members to resign. The White House also said President Biden would like all three council members to resign.
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Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, who also took part in the recorded October 2021 conversation, resigned from his post Monday night.
De Leon and Cedillo have not made any announcements regarding their resignation.
Mitch O'Farrell, the council president pro tempore, was elevated to interim council president. The council will elect a new president on Oct. 18.
O'Farrell called her resignation a first step in healing.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti released a statement in response saying, "Nury made the right decision, one that I realize is painful to her personally but unquestionably in the best interests of a city that I know she loves. Racism and hateful words cannot ever be overlooked by our community or within one's self, and she needs the time and space to reflect, make amends and move forward with her life. Her two former colleagues must arrive at the same decision soon, because Angelenos deserve a government focused squarely on meeting challenges in their neighborhoods that are too serious to risk a paralyzed City Council."
And Gov. Gavin Newsom said, "This is the right move. Again, these comments have no place in our state, or in our politics, and we must all model better behavior to live the values that so many of us fight every day to protect."
Martinez, 49, has served on the council since 2013 and represents the 6th District in the San Fernando Valley. She was the second Latina to serve on the council and was the only female member of the council when she won election. Six years later, she became the first Latina to become president of the City Council when she was elected in 2019, replacing long-time President Herb Wesson.
Prior to joining the council, Martinez served on the San Fernando City Council from 2003 to 2009 and on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board from 2009 to 2013.
What was said in the leaked tapes
Among many of the comments said in the recorded conversation, Martinez belittled Bonin, who is white and openly gay, and criticized his adopted Black son for his behavior at a Martin Luther King Day parade, saying the boy was misbehaving on a float, which might have tipped over if she and other women hadn't stepped in to "parent this kid."
"They're raising him like a little white kid," Martinez said. "I was like, `This kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I'll bring him back."'
Martinez also called the child "ese changuito," Spanish for "that little monkey."
De León also criticized Bonin. "Mike Bonin won't f---ing ever say peep about Latinos. He'll never say a f---ing word about us," he said.
De León also compared Bonin's handling of his son at the MLK Parade to "when Nury brings her little yard bag or the Louis Vuitton bag."
"Su negrito, like on the side," Martinez added, using a Spanish term for a Black person that's considered demeaning by many.
At another point in the leaked conversation, Martinez recalls a conversation with businessman Danny Bakewell about possibly transferring Los Angeles International Airport out of Bonin's Council District and into that of Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
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Martinez said she told Bakewell to "go get the airport from his little brother -- that little bitch Bonin."
On the subject of Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas' suspension amid an indictment on federal corruption charges, Martinez said Controller Ron Galperin would decide whether Ridley-Thomas still gets paid.
"You need to go talk to that white guy," she says. "It's not us. It's the white members on this Council that will motherf--- you in a heartbeat."
Martinez also took aim at Los Angeles County District George Gascón in profane terms, after the group appeared to discuss whether Gascón would endorse Cedillo in his re-election campaign against Hernandez.
"F--- that guy. (inaudible) ... He's with the Blacks," she said of Gascón.