A leaked audio recording of three Los Angeles City Council members and a senior borough labor official, punctuated by racist comments and derisive remarks about colleagues, rocked Los Angeles politics just a month before a major election.
The conversation includes Council President Nury Martinez, who is Latina, who says a white councilor treated his young black son like he was an “accessory” and described the child as a “changuito” or little monkey.
Council President Nury Martinez makes racist remarks about Councilor Mike Bonin’s young son as others chime in on this segment of the conversation. The group discussed a dispute between councilors Curren Price and Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who disagreed last year over whose district USC and Exposition Park would represent once the new maps were completed. The clip begins with Martinez recounting a conversation she allegedly had with businessman Danny Bakewell.
She also said, “F — that guy … He’s with the Blacks,” while speaking on Los Angeles County Dist. atty George Gascón, among other incendiary comments on the tape.
The recording, first reported by The Times on Sunday, has sparked outrage, apologies and a legal threat over disclosure of the audio’s contents. Here’s what we know about the recording so far.
What is the origin of the band?
The interview took place in mid-October 2021.
Audio of this was posted on Reddit a few days ago by a now-banned user.
“Wow, you know it’s happening, but when you actually hear it, it’s amazing,” the now-banned Reddit user said in the text that accompanied the audio, according to a screenshot verified by The Times. “The labor movement is in bed with the town hall.”
It was recorded “on property of the LA County Federation of Labor,” according to Julie Gutman Dickinson, an attorney representing the LA County Federation of Labor.
Participants seem unaware that they are being recorded.
It’s unclear who made the recording or if anyone else was in the room at the time.
Who was present during the conversation?
Martinez, councilors Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera were present during the call.
As President of the City Council, Martinez holds one of the most powerful positions in local politics, leading the city’s 15-member legislature. De León, a former chairman of the California Senate, was elected to the council in 2020 and ran in this year’s mayoral primary, finishing third. Cedillo lost the primary in June and his term on the council ends in December.
Herrera heads the politically prominent Federation of Labor – a coalition representing more than 800,000 union members and spends a lot on behalf of his favorite candidates at City Hall.
What was the focus of the conversation?
The group appears to have met to discuss the city’s then-underway process of redefining council borough boundaries.
The conversation focused heavily on council members’ frustration over maps proposed by the city’s 21-member Redistribution Commission and the need to re-elect Latino council members. Martinez and De León were particularly frustrated by proposals to remove assets like Van Nuys Airport and USC from heavily Latino counties.
The wide-ranging, hour-long talk also includes a discussion of Councilor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ indictment and what is to be done with his Council seat, talks about forthcoming Council races, derisive remarks about Council colleagues and numerous racist comments.
What were the political consequences?
As of Sunday afternoon, politicians and candidates in the Nov. 8 election had begun calling on Martinez to resign from her post — or to resign altogether. Bonin and council-elect Eunisses Hernandez – who will soon take Cedillo’s seat – have called on Martinez to resign.
The timing of the leak is of enormous importance as it comes a month before a crucial city election. Martinez has endorsed a number of candidates for the Nov. 8 contest, including Rep. Karen Bass’s run for mayor.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-10-09/la-city-hall-leaked-audio-martinez-cedillo-de-leon-bonin L.A. Council President Nury Martinez makes racist remarks: What to know