Hours after Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez announced she is taking a “leave of absence” from Los Angeles City Council, Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo called on Martinez and fellow City Councilmembers Gil Cedillo, and Kevin De Leon to resign from their posts.
Martinez stepped down as council president after a secret recording revealed her making racist remarks about a council peer’s son. De León and Cedillo were part of that conversation as well as with Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera.
The leaders have since issued public apologies, and Martinez announced Tuesday she will also take a “leave of absence” from her seat amid a wave of outrage, which Gordo added to Tuesday after issuing a letter to the community.
“Appropriately, their remarks have been widely denounced and condemned, as they should be for all who believe in equality, respect, and compassion,” Gordo wrote, noting Herrera’s resignation on Monday.
“This is not enough,” he added. “Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, and Kevin De Leon must immediately resign their positions on the L.A. City Council.”
Gordo also called on other elected leaders to hold themselves accountable to higher standards.
“On a personal level, no matter how one identifies, these remarks are not tolerable.” Gordo said in this week’s letter. “All leaders, no matter their race, should agree.”
And they have – as calls for all three to resign have also come from Mayor Eric Garcetti, as well as Sen. Alex Padilla, who is from the San Fernando Valley, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank — and even President Joe Biden.
L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, as well as L.A. City Councilmembers Heather Hutt, Nithya Raman and both L.A. mayoral candidates also joined the chorus of people calling for Martinez, De León and Cedillo to resign.
Groups such as the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters, Los Angeles County Business Federation, California Teachers Association and United Teachers Los Angeles called on the city council members to give up public office.
But Gordo believes “this cannot end with merely resignations,” according to his letter.
“The reprehensible remarks heard on the audio recording impact all current and future Latino leaders and undermines our ability to govern at all levels and to represent people of all backgrounds,” Gordo wrote.
“Latino politicians who may share similar hateful and painful thoughts about others should know that there are many Latino elected officials who believe that we represent everyone, from every walk of life, from every race, ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic status,” he said. “We are strong, and we are growing, and we will not relent in our pursuit of respect, equality, and inclusivity.”
The mayor’s comments regarding the scandal follow a stern critique of a Pasadena elementary school principal, who was recorded making derogatory statements during a conversation with a private security guard on campus grounds.
Like the recent missive to L.A. leaders, Gordo sent a bluntly worded letter on Thursday, Aug. 18 to the community and parents at San Rafael Middle Elementary School that said there was no place for racist behavior in society.
“Race-based denigrating statements are never appropriate,” Gordo said in his community missive. “Biased statements directed or intended to denigrate people based on skin color were wrong in times long past… and will always be wrong. There is no place in our society for these types of statements, and certainly not in Pasadena.”
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