Nury Martinez, the president of the Los Angeles City Council, resigned on Monday morning after the release of a recording in which Martinez made racist remarks and discussed using redistricting to reshape power in the city.
In a statement announcing her resignation, Martinez asked 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," the statement continued.
“I take responsibility for what I said and there are no excuses for those comments. I’m so sorry,” Martinez said in a lengthy resignation statement. “Going forward, reconciliation will be my priority. I have already reached out to many of my Black colleagues and other Black leaders to express my regret in order for us to heal.”
While Martinez is resigning as president, she has not said whether she will resign from her council seat, despite increasing pressure from two other city council members and a prominent labor leader caught on tape.
The audio rocked California's politics over the weekend, inciting outrage and calls for Martinez, Councilmembers Gil Cedillo, Kevin de León, and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera to step down.
Several sitting members of the 15-member city council have stated that the people on the tape should be removed from office. On Monday, leaders of a powerful labor union, SEIU California, and the California Federation of Teachers called on all of them to step down.
On the tape, Martinez and de León can be heard disparaging the young Black son of a fellow white councilmember. De León compares the child to an accessory, while Martinez suggests he deserves a "beatdown" and refers to him as a "little monkey" in Spanish. The audio appeared to have been secretly recorded over a year ago.
The tape also shows the raw exercise of power, as Martinez and others discuss using redistricting to punish political opponents and empower allies. They discuss lowering renters' power in one district, making it more difficult for the incumbent to win re-election, and allocating economic "assets" such as an airport.
“All those in the room must be held accountable, and I’ve spent the day speaking with Black and Latino leaders about how to ensure this doesn’t divide our city,” Bass said in a statement.
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