Courtesy of Pexels

Embroiled in yet another scandal, the Los Angeles City Council is facing backlash from Angelenos and Californians over leaked recordings from 2021 that display racist comments being made. City Council President, Nury Martinez, County Federation of Labor President, Ron Herrera, and council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León are heard in the recordings making offensive remarks about councilmember Mike Bonin’s adopted son, as well as LA residents at large. This recent leak brings into question the competency and professionalism of the council who are co

With LA having historically low voter turnout rates, this a blow to the community who relies on their elected officials to solve problems plaguing the city and its inhabitants. This conversation was recorded during talks about redistricting, a process that has been used to divide affluent areas from ones with lower income rates. This process is known to be racist and allows those representing the district to manipulate their region in an effort to gain more political status. In the recording, the members are also heard discussing giving less affluent areas to their rivals. By only caring about areas with more economic influence, underrepresented Angelenos receive the short end of the stick and are given less opportunity to break generational curses. 

Issues like affordable housing, homelessness and immigration rights are at the forefront of concerns that Angelenos have. These issues have been ignored or given little to no relief amidst a city council that is known for being corrupt and enthralled in scandal. With this recording being leaked, the thought of what other horrible things the council members have been saying and doing comes to mind. In recent years, some LA county officials have had to step down due to scandal and one, former council member Mitch Englander, was even sentenced to federal prison for obstructing a corruption probe.  

Amidst this backlash, Angelenos have been vocal about calling for the removal of those heard in the recording. As of now, only Martinez has resigned and de Leon has publicly stated that he does not plan to do so. De Leon claims that while he did not protest the vulgar comments, he should not be attacked because he did not participate in adding to the conversation. This is a lazy cop out on de Leon’s part for not using his political position and power to stand up for the marginalized groups who voted him into office to support their interests. 

This blatant act of racism from government officials, who are also people of color, stems from racist values instilled in the Latine community. Tracing back to colonialism, many people from Latin America tend to favor those with fairer skin associating the look with European beauty standards. These comments are not unusual for this community to hear, but coming from people in power, they reinstate colorism and the belief that those with darker skin tones do not deserve the same rights or treatment. These officials were elected to advocate the needs of their community and have failed by seeing them as second class citizens. 

This recent scandal must be a wake up call for Angeleons. Those who want change to happen need to work towards gaining more political turnout. Local elections are often overlooked and should not be. Politics begins at the local level and by letting underqualified or incompetent canidates win, people are giving them a chance to stay in power and rise in ranking. Better candidates who are from the area and relate to those in their district are needed so that positive legislation can happen. With the midterms elections upon us, only time will tell how the county of LA responds to this racist recording.  


  • The Editorial Board

    The Highlander editorials reflect the majority view of the Highlander Editorial Board. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Associated Students of UCR or the University of California system.