In a Sunday evening statement, O’Farrell called for Martinez to step down as council president and said the comments were “tragic and unconscionable.”
“Words that dehumanize are soul-destroying even when they are uttered from the mouths of friends, loved ones or colleagues,” O’Farrell said.
Mayor Eric Garcetti weighed in with a statement Sunday afternoon.
“The Los Angeles I love is a welcoming and nurturing place. As mayor, as a father, and as an Angeleno, I am saddened by what I read. There is no place in our city family for attacks on colleagues and their loved ones, and there is no place for racism anywhere in L.A. Everyone in our city deserves to feel safe and treated with equal respect. These words fall short of those values,” Garcetti said.
Mayoral candidate Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, issued a statement Sunday evening, calling the content on the tapes “appalling, anti-Black racism.”
“I have devoted my life to bringing people together to move us forward. For more than 30 years, I have built alliances between Los Angeles’ Black and Latino communities to increase our neighborhoods; health, safety and prosperity,” Bass said.
“I firmly believe that we can overcome our shared challenges by uniting around our shared values, and in a diverse and dynamic city like Los Angeles, that’s our only path forward,” she said, adding that she had spent the day speaking with Black and Latino leaders about “how to ensure this doesn’t divide our city.”
“All those in the room must be held accountable,” she said.
Developer Rick Caruso, who is running for mayor of Los Angeles,
tweeted a statement in support of Bonin.
“I’ve disagreed with Mike on much regarding public policy, but as a father, I stand with him and his family and vehemently denounce this hate speech against his son,” Caruso wrote.
“This entire situation shows that city hall is fundamentally broken and dysfunctional. In a closed-door meeting, leaders at the highest levels of city government used racial slurs and hate speech while discussing how to carve up the city to retain their own power,” he continued. “This is a clear example of hypocrisy, racism and crude power politics.
“Everyone involved in this should be held accountable.”
Caruso also said that “most of the people involved in this ugly episode have endorsed Karen Bass,” his opponent in next month’s mayoral election, and called for the Democratic congresswoman to demand accountability from them and renounce their endorsements.
Meanwhile, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, is demanding that the City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti publicly censure Martinez and de León.
“Their apology for using terms such as ‘little monkey’ to describe an African American youth for instance promotes and reinforces the vilest stereotypes of African Americans (and) is not enough,” Hutchinson said in a statement Sunday provided to CNS. “Nothing less than a full censureship by the city council and endorsed by Garcetti will send the message that vile racist
stereotypes will not be tolerated and will be quickly punished.”
A short time after Hutchinson’s statement, Najee Ali, founder of Project Islamic Hope, said Martinez should step down as council president, although he stopped short of calling for her resignation from the council.
“She was voted in along with de León, by the district residents. We’re not speaking for their council constituents. But she is the council president, and we can’t have that type of racist language being espoused by the council president.”
The civil rights activist said what made it even worse was that he’s counted Martinez and de León as “friends and allies” over the years.
“The apology was needed, but it’s not nearly enough for the injury that was inflicted upon the entire city,” Ali said. “And what made it that much more damaging is that we considered them progressives. But it sounded like they were talking at a Trump rally.”
Ali was planning a news conference on Monday backed by other community leaders.
“Everyone is outraged throughout the city,” he said.
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