Since news broke of leaked tapes, Councilwoman Nury Martinez has been locked in her home. Her house has had protestors yelling for her to resign with security standing by.
Edin Enamorado is one of those who protested outside of her Sun Valley home. He’s known for organizing protests outside the homes of those who’ve attacked street vendors.
He confronted security, asking them, “Why were they protecting a bigot?”
He questioned why she should have so much “privilege,” after her neighbors told him that Martinez insisted police go door-to-door to question all those who lived around her when her catalytic converter was stolen. It’s customary for police to instruct people to make a report online when this common crime occurs.
It was clear – there was no choice for Martinez but to resign. There was no apology that could be large enough, no justification for her words. “She failed to hold herself to a higher standard,” said Enamorado.
“Her comments were anti-Black and anti-Indigenous. The indigenous community needs representation, including on the city council.”
Enamorado notes that Gil Cedillo’s district includes Koreatown, which has a significant Oaxacan community. Among the hundreds who poured into LA City Hall this week to demand the three councilmembers resign, one member of the Oaxacan community noted, “How can we feel respected or have representation when those who are elected to serve us are laughing at us and calling us ‘short, dark and ugly’?”
For those who live in the Northeast San Fernando Valley, the community that Martinez grew up in and represented for so long — in the city of San Fernando, its local council, on the school board and the most coveted position as president of the LA City Council — there is now some concern about the vacancy her resignation creates.
“I know she had to go, but I’m still sad because she did know our community,” said Lupe Rosas. “She did do some good work for us and looked out for the valley and now we are the ones who will have to deal with not having anyone in that seat. Yes, she was caught trash-talking, but she knew this community.”
“We talk about each other in ways that we shouldn’t,” said Dr. Rudy Acuña. “It’s a sickness. I don’t know if they have any leadership left in them,” he said. “You make mistakes, but you have to admit it and propose an alternative – have a broader dialogue.”
Dr. Acuña said Martinez had to be called on her comments. Making such racially charged comments can’t be taken lightly, even if they are supposedly made in jest. “This is very dangerous, someone could get killed over this. What kind of example is this for students? There is so much resentment [between communities] ‘I hate Central Americans. I hate Mexicans’ … she has to be called on it.”
Who Recorded and Leaked Tapes and Why?
Meanwhile, the LA County Federation of Labor communicated with their affiliates to say leaked audio of LA City Council members is “illegal,” and they are investigating and will prosecute who is found to be responsible.
Martinez, Cedillo, and DeLeon with the Federation President Ron Hererra thought they were having a private conversation and had no idea that they were being recorded. They now speculate that there may be numerous recordings of what was thought to be private conversations in their offices and conference rooms. They called it a “serious security and privacy breach,” causing people to speculate that the recording and release of the tape were calculated.
Sources who spoke to the San Fernando Valley Sun/el Sol but asked not to be identified said there has been a long time “push, pull power struggle,” at the union between Black and Latino members. Members of the Black community have raised concern for many years about the lack of construction jobs and contracts available to them while Latino immigrants are hired at construction sites.
The initial recording may have been to target Federation leadership but the conversation between the three councilmembers provided the lit match that created the firestorm that has now left a void of Latino leadership in the city.
Conflict between communities, a long-time power struggle – it’s all intertwined, Acuña believes that this firestorm has brought it all to the surface.
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