Nury Martinez Resigns From Los Angeles City Council Seat Amid Furor Over Leaked Audio Recording

Nury Martinez has stepped down from her seat on the Los Angeles City Council amid the furor over the comments she made on a leaked audio of a conversation with two other colleagues and a top labor official.

“It is with a broken heart that I resign my seat for Council district 6, the community I grew up in and my home,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.

Martinez resigned as City Council president on Monday and then announced the next day that she was taking a leave. But a chorus of top Democrats, including President Joe Biden, have called on her and the two other council members, Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo, to also exit.

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The leaked audio, in which Martinez was heard making racist remarks about the Black son of one of her council colleagues, Mike Bonin, as well as disparaging remarks about other ethnic groups, has set off a furor. Earlier on Wednesday, a City Council meeting was postponed due to the shouts of protesters in the chambers, as demonstrators demanded the resignations of the three members.

In the recorded conversation at the center of the current controversy, Martinez belittled Bonin, who is white and openly gay, and criticized his adopted Black son for his behavior at a Martin Luther King Day parade, saying the boy was misbehaving on a float, which might have tipped over if she and other women hadn’t stepped in to “parent this kid.”

“They’re raising him like a little white kid,” Martinez said. “I was like, ‘This kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.’ ”

De Leon and Cedillo also took part in the conversation, recorded last year, but they remain on the council thus far.

Along with Biden, Bonin and mayoral candidate Karen Bass, virtually every major politician with a connection to Los Angeles has called for all three to resign including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Nithya Raman and Heather Hutt.

Erik Pedersen and Tom Tapp contributed to this report.

Martinez’s full statement is below:

“It is with a broken heart that I resign my seat for Council District 6, the community I grew up in and my home. 

“When I ran in 2013, I wanted to see a change in my community and fight for my neighbors. That is what it has been about all along. No one expected me to win, but with the support of residents throughout the district I overcame that challenge and won the seat for Council District 6. I had the honor of serving in the role of a lifetime: being the representative for my neighbors. 

“Over the last nine years, I’ve had the honor of working with communities across Los Angeles to fight for policies that uplift working families. For the families who can’t make it out of poverty, struggling
everyday, you are the reason why I get up in the morning and do what I do. To represent and fight for the people who don’t have a voice. To the workers, the housekeepers, the nannies, to the people who get up to ride the bus to work in the morning. You have been the backbone of our city throughout this pandemic, but you were the backbone long before. I went to work for you. You have been my mission and my guiding principle. 

“The last, almost three years, have been unimaginably difficult. When I was elected President of the Council, I served for three months before the pandemic came crashing down. As the first Latina Council President, I strived to serve with compassion and to give a larger platform to the communities I felt had been left behind. 

“This Council has made a difference in the lives of millions across the city. We launched the largest renters relief program in the nation, brought equity in our city’s budget, created tenant protections, pushed for equality for women in the workplace, worked to phase out of oil, created a new department around families and community investment, created the largest guaranteed basic income program in the country, launched a new homeowner program, fought for human trafficking victims, and so much more. In Council District 6, we planned the revitalization of the Sepulveda Basin and the Van Nuys Civic Center, we distributed thousands of boxes at our monthly food and diaper giveaways, rented out laundromats for families in need and led the way in building housing for our homeless neighbors in the Valley. 

“To my constituents — Serving you has been a privilege and one that I don’t give up lightly. You are my neighbors, my friends, and the reason for this service. Throughout these 9 years, we’ve been able to work together to fix our parks, our streets, our sidewalks, and improve the overall quality of life for our neighborhoods. I hope you stay engaged and continue to fight for your fair share of the city’s resources. It’s hard to say goodbye, but please know that I was in this fight for you. 

“To my colleagues — I know we’ve had a hard couple of years and I know this work hasn’t always been easy for us. My only goal as Council President has been to champion a families-first agenda that we can all be proud of. Each of you have worked hard on policies and programs that uplift Angelenos across this city. I hope that this work continues and that workers and working class families remain in the forefront of the priorities of this Council. While I leave with a heavy heart, know that I wish you all the best and I have faith in your strength to unite this city. 

“To the city employees — you have been my second family. From the start of my presidency, you rallied around me and embraced my families-first agenda. You work hard every day and show up for this City’s residents. During the pandemic, when everyone stayed safe at home, you came to work, you delivered services, you became disaster workers, essential workers, and you got this city through our hardest times. I thank you and this city thanks you. 

“To my staff — I’m sorry that we’re ending it this way. This is no reflection on you. I know you all will continue to do great work and fight for our district. I’ll be cheering you on. 

“To my family, to my daughter, and to my mom — You have been my support system, my shoulder to cry on, and my biggest cheerleaders throughout my time in office. There have been many long nights, dinners missed, homework not checked over, dishes not washed because of this role that I took on. To my husband, my right hand man and my confidant, I cannot thank you enough for being my partner through this. To my daughter, I know I have fallen short recently of the expectations we have for our family. I vow to you that I will strive to be a better woman to make you proud. To my mom, you give me strength and you center me. I’ve only ever wanted to make you proud. To my sister, thank you for all you do, you have stepped in to take care of our family when I could not be there. To my dad in heaven, siempre serás mi inspiración. 

“And last, to all little Latina girls across this city — I hope I’ve inspired you to dream beyond that which you can see. 

“While I take the time to look inwards and reflect, I ask that you give me space and privacy.” 

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