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Los Angeles City Council turns new page after leaked racist comments by members

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Oct 20, 2022 - 12:57 AM

HOUSTON, United States (AA) – The Los Angeles City Council voted for a new president late Tuesday after an explosive week and a half in which leaked racist comments by some members, including its former president, divided the community.

The council unanimously voted for veteran council member Paul Krekorian — a former Democratic California state assemblyman.

“Needless to say this is one of the most challenging times our city has ever had to face,” Krekorian said after being voted president.

Krekorian has a monumental task ahead to repair and heal the recent racial divide in the US’ second-largest city.

Now-former President Nury Martinez resigned last week after a taped conversation from October 2021 was released where she criticized the son of White council member Mike Bonin, calling the boy “ese changuito,” which in Spanish means “that little monkey.”

Martinez also called Indigenous immigrants from the Mexican state of Oaxaca “tan feos,” or “so ugly,” and referred to Oaxacans as “little, short dark people.”

Council members Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo were stripped of their committee seats after taking part in the conversation.

Union leader Ron Herrera also resigned from his position after the leaked audio was released.

Despite calls from the Black, Hispanic and Indigenous communities for de Leon and Cedillo to resign, neither has budged.

Krekorian pledged more transparency and cooperation as the council tries to get past the scandal despite both men remaining on the council.

“I just need to reiterate that we just can’t allow two members who are in a position now of having dishonored their offices, to — by their decision, or lack of decision — hold the business of the city hostage,” he said.

Since the recording was made public Oct. 9, the city has been flooded with protests from community groups of all races and ethnicities to have a council that fairly and equally represents its diverse constituents.

The fallout from the recording could include sweeping changes to city government. Council members passed a measure Tuesday that would delve into a plan to come up with possible ballot measures for voters within the next couple of months.

There were also calls from some council members to expand the governing body from 15 to 30 seats to better represent the multi-racial and multi-ethnic city of 4 million residents.

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