LEAKED TAPE: Los Angeles Deals With Racial Divide Once Again Following Racist Comments’ Leak

Photo by James Eades

A political alliance established over decades in a city that sets itself up as an example of a racially diverse administration has crumbled in the wake of a leaked audio showing three Latino members of the Los Angeles City Council making racist remarks about Black people.

The tape, which was released on Sunday, shattered the Latino political establishment in the state’s largest metropolis. Ron Herrera, a Latino power broker, left his position as president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor late on Monday, and councilwoman Nury Martinez said on Tuesday that she would take a leave of absence after leaving her position as the body’s president the day before.

Martinez and the other callers, who included council members Gil Cedillo, a longtime labor leader, and immigrant rights advocate, and Kevin de León, a former U.S. Senate candidate and leader of the state Senate, were subjected to constant calls for resignation, including those coming from the White House.

President Biden “believes that they all should quit,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters in her daily news briefing on Tuesday.

She called the language used and allowed during that chat “unacceptable” and “appalling.” “They ought to all resign,”

The four, who are among the most influential Democrats in the city, were secretly taped last year during a conversation that featured racist insults of both categories of city voters and the young Black son of a colleague, councilman Mike Bonin.

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