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Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Lizze Small Contributing Illustrator
How to help our Earth
April 12, 2024

LA City Council scandal rocks local politics

Los Angeles City Hall on a beautiful day (Wikipedia Creative Commons)

First posted on Reddit, an 80-minute audio recording of Los Angeles’ top officials making racist and disparaging comments about people in the Black, Indigenous, Jewish, Armenian and LGBTQ community shocked not only Los Angeles but also the nation.

Former Council President Nury Martinez, Council Member Gil Cedillo, Council Member Kevin de León, and former Leader of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Ron Herrera were in a meeting discussing redistricting in Los Angeles in October 2021 when these comments were made. 

Almost a year later, the recording was leaked during the closing weeks of the mayoral race. Among the myriad of crude and racist remarks, the four Latinx Democratic leaders mocked their fellow Council Member Mike Bonin, a white gay man, and his adopted Black son. 

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

In response to the recording, Head of School Jennifer Ciccarelli sent an email to the Marlborough community. 

“We know that these comments operate in a larger system of oppression that affects marginalized communities and stand in stark contrast to the behavior we uphold and seek to model for Marlborough students,” Ciccarelli said. 

Students felt their perception of Los Angeles and their government as a welcoming center of multiculturalism shaken by these abhorrent comments. 

“As a young Latina looking into a career in politics, I had been inspired by Nuri Martinez for being the first Latina LA City Council president,” Olé Leader Kristina ‘23 said. “After hearing her and all the other council member’s comments, I am disgusted.”

Facing pressure from local and national leaders alike, Martinez and Herrera both resigned from their positions. Cedillo and León, on the other hand, have not despite the mounting calls to do so. Because of their refusal to resign, Interim Council President Mitch O’Farrell stripped Cedillo and León of their committee assignments. 

“I think the resignations were a quick and easy band-aid solution to pacify the citizens of LA by ensuring us that the cause of these problems would a step-down,” Kristina said. “In reality, there is a much bigger problem. The leaders of our community need to dismantle the internal racism, homophobia, and antisemitism that is present in Los Angeles in order to create a loving, safe, and inclusive community.”

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