Former Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez announced Wednesday her resignation from her seat following leaked audio recordings exposing her three other top L.A. officials using offensive and racist language during a meeting last year.
“It is with a broken heart that I resign my seat for Council District 6, the community I grew up in and my home,” Martinez said, adding, “To my staff — I’m sorry that we’re ending it this way.”
Martinez first resigned as president of the Los Angeles City Council on Monday, within hours after the recordings went public.
The conversation with the former councilwoman also involved Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, who resigned shortly after Martinez.
The meeting, which took place in October 2021, was primarily focused on redistricting the city, which happens once a decade.
During the closed-door recorded conversation, L.A. officials met to discuss how the city would redraw council district boundaries over the next 10 years — geared toward helping Latino political leaders maintain their power, re-elect Latino members, and protect economic interests.
However, the leaked audio recordings, first published by anonymous Reddit users and later reported by The Los Angeles Times, exposed Martinez’s racist statements about a fellow council member Mike Bonin, a gay white man, and his adopted black son.
Martinez was also heard making racist remarks about Oaxacan immigrants living in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles and offensive comments regarding Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s association with the black community.
Councilmember de León was also heard making offensive comments in the recording about Bonin.
In the moments after Martinez’s resignation, Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a statement saying the former councilwoman “made the right decision,” that he realizes “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,” Garcetti said, adding her two former colleagues — Cedillo and de León — “must arrive at the same decision soon.”
“Angelenos deserve a government focused squarely on meeting challenges in their neighborhoods that are too serious to risk a paralyzed City Council,” Garcetti said.
California Governor Gavin Newsom also said that the councilwoman made the right decision.
“This is the right move,” Newsom said. “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.”
CBS News reports Councilman Mitch O’Farrell will fill the role of pro-tempore president of the Council while calling on the other council members to step down from their positions.
“There is no other way forward,” O’Farrell said.