Letters to the Editor: Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León have done grave racial harm to L.A.

L.A. City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, center, talks to Councilmen Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León at a meeting.
L.A. City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, center, talks to Councilmen Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León before they left Tuesday’s meeting.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I am a proud gay man. I am a proud Mexican American. And since moving to Los Angeles in 1975 at the age of 19, I am a proud Angeleno. (“Protests, anger, tears roil L.A. City Council meeting over leaked racist recordings,” Oct. 11)

I came from a small conservative town. But even there, we were not so insulated from the rest of the world. Today, I find many people — not everyone, but especially the Latino political class in L.A. — to be closed minded and without a vision of inclusion.

My parents always taught us that someone’s race, ethnicity or gender was never enough of a qualification for anything. One must always look at the character and actions. I vote in every election, and I never vote for someone just because they have a Latino surname. It’s that limited thinking that gets people like Alex Villanueva elected sheriff.


The vile language from the mouth of City Councilwoman Nury Martinez and the “it’s all right” attitude of Councilmen Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo show their character. All three disgrace themselves and insult their constituents.

I am proud that my representative on the City Council, Paul Koretz, did not hesitate to demand that Martinez resign from the City Council. Los Angeles can be great, but not with elected officials like these three.

Louis Jacinto, Los Angeles


To the editor: As a Black citizen, former civil rights activist, municipal worker and current organizer for issues affecting Black, Brown, Indigenous and other under-represented classes, I find the comments made public by these so-called civic leaders appalling and divisive.

As a Black woman, mother and grandmother and community elder, I have attempted to bring to light the anti-Black sentiments held by many of our Brown brothers and sisters. It’s not as if Blacks are not aware of the racism they often face in Brown spaces, but we are sorely disappointed and shocked to see it raise its ugly head among those who make the laws and policies affecting us all.

There can be no trust between the Black community and the Latinx leadership when those that represent us are the ones calling for actions to diminish the voices of Black people and show disdain for Black children.


Trudy Goodwin Barnes, Los Angeles


To the editor: The comments on the recording were unacceptably racist of course. But let us not overlook that Martinez and De León were reviling a child whom Councilman Mike Bonin adopted out of the foster care system.

I am the adoptive father of two wonderful kids from the L.A. foster care system. Bonin and his husband should be honored for their loving gesture, and Martinez and De León should be discarded from public life for adding to the trauma already endured by Bonin’s son.

There are 22,000 foster kids in Los Angeles County. How can Martinez and De León possibly represent this fragile constituency? And imagine the harm they have done to efforts to recruit foster parents.

Christopher Weare, San Francisco


To the editor: Our L.A. city government leadership is already in total disarray. If three Latino councilmembers resign at once, that leaves a huge swath of Angelenos — who are among the least politically empowered citizens in L.A. — without a voice and a vote in City Council to get services they need.

When Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas was suspended last year due to his corruption indictment, it left about 270,000 residents in Council District 10 unfairly punished and without an effective voice for nearly a year.

These Latino councilmembers who expressed ugly, racist comments about their colleagues and others should get on their knees and beg for forgiveness, take sensitivity training and lose their chairmanships of committees. Cedillo lost his reelection bid; as for Martinez and De León, let the voters decide if they want them back in the next election.

Walter Dominguez, Los Angeles


To the editor: What is the difference between Martinez and Donald Trump? I can’t tell, with their hateful vitriol. Neither is fit for any office.

Los Angeles will survive this crisis, but Martinez should resign from the City Council because she does not represent Angelenos. The same could be said for De León and Cedillo. Shame on them.

Beret Malmgren, Los Angeles


To the editor: The words used by Martinez, Cedillo and De León, while unmitigatedly heinous, are not the entire problem. Despite the apologies, which included the excuse of acting under intense frustration and anger, the matter is not as simple as that.

Negative racial comments are a manifestation of deeper attitudes and beliefs that reside in one’s personality. They are carried at all times and factor into every action and decision. They will operate, usually quietly, in voting maters and decisions coming before the City Council.

Words hurt, but it’s not simply words here. Voters, be mindful of this.

Gabrielle Nurre, Albuquerque