A Ship of Fools

If you think your town or city is badly governed, remember that it could be worse: you could live in Los Angeles.

Appalling ignorance, racism, corruption and political greed came to light when someone recorded a conversation among three members of the Los Angeles City Council and the city’s most powerful labor leader. The Los Angeles Times covers a story that must be painful for the paper, since everyone involved is a Democrat:

Three Latino members of the Los Angeles City Council and a top county labor official held a conversation last fall that included racist remarks, derisive statements about their colleagues and council President Nury Martinez saying a white councilman handled his young Black son as though he were an “accessory,” according to a recording of the meeting reviewed by The Times.

Martinez, while discussing Councilman Mike Bonin’s child, said, “Parece changuito,” or “He’s like a monkey,” soon afterward.

A few minutes after Martinez discussed Bonin’s son, the topic of conversation moved to Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón, who was facing growing political opposition.

“F— that guy,” Martinez said, followed by something inaudible. “He’s with the Blacks.”

The Democrats’ coalition seems to be fraying.

During the conversation with Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, Martinez also described Bonin at one point as a “little bitch.”

De León appeared to compare Bonin’s handling of his child to Martinez holding a Louis Vuitton handbag. He also referred to Bonin as the council’s “fourth Black member.”

Charming. Bonin is white, but of course he is still a “minority”:

On Sunday, Bonin and his husband, Sean Arian, called on Martinez, De León and Herrera to resign.

“The entirety of the recorded conversation, … displayed a repeated and vulgar anti-Black sentiment, and a coordinated effort to weaken Black political representation in Los Angeles,” they said in a statement.

The rot goes deeper and deeper.

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

Martinez’s reference to Bonin’s child as changuito occurred during that part of the conversation.

Another member of the City Council apparently was taking bribes:

At another point in the conversation, the group discussed Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas’ indictment and whether he would step down or fight to hold onto his seat.

A few minutes later, Martinez said she explained to another council member that if Ridley-Thomas were to be suspended, City Controller Ron Galperin would decide whether he still gets paid.

“You need to go talk to that white guy,” she says. “It’s not us. It’s the white members on this council that will motherf— you in a heartbeat.”

(The council later suspended Ridley-Thomas, who is awaiting trial on a federal bribery charge.)

The context of the conversation was redistricting. The conversation was even more corrupt than you might have expected:

The group heavily criticized the maps created by the city’s redistricting commission. Martinez voiced frustration that the panel had proposed removing a number of economic assets from her San Fernando Valley district, including the Van Nuys Airport and the Anheuser-Busch brewery.

“If you’re going to talk about Latino districts, what kind of districts are you trying to create?” she asked. “Because you’re taking away our assets. You’re just going to create poor Latino districts with nothing?”

At another point, Cedillo said there were certain council members who do not merit “rescuing” during the redistricting process. He then made clear that he was referring to Nithya Raman, who had been fighting to ensure her Hollywood Hills district was not moved to the west Valley.

“She is not our ally. She is not going to help us,” he said.

Later in the conversation, the group talked about how Koreatown — a largely Latino neighborhood — should be handled in redistricting.

Martinez said the area was in Council District 10, which was Ridley-Thomas’ district. Martinez then noted that Raman “wants a play for K-Town” but said that would not happen because she didn’t want “beef” with Ridley-Thomas.

Martinez said that giving Raman what could amount to a safer council district would not be good for Martinez and her allies.

“It serves us to not give her all of K-Town,” Martinez said, referring to Raman. “Because if you do that solidifies her renters’ district and that is not a good thing for any of us. You have to keep her on the fence.”

I suppose redistricting conversations like this one go on among Democrats every ten years. But this one has an added twist of racism:

The group then questioned whether Shatto Place, a small street, and Lafayette Park are in Koreatown.

“I see a lot of little short dark people,” Martinez said of that section of Koreatown, employing stereotypes long used against Oaxacans in Mexico and in the United States.

“I was like, I don’t know where these people are from, I don’t know what village they came [from], how they got here,” Martinez said, before adding “Tan feos” — “They’re ugly.”

Why are Democrat-run cities such cesspits of racism? But back to redistricting:

Herrera then interjected to bring the group back to their broader strategy.

“I get what we have to do, right? Just massage to create districts that benefit you all. And the future. But we got to figure out Mark’s seat too,” Herrera said, referring to Ridley-Thomas.

“If he resigns and the African Americans look at this as a hostile takeover because he’s gone, we’ll have to figure that s— out,” Martinez said of Ridley-Thomas. “Because politically, they’re going to come after us.”

Herrera, the labor official, later said that removing Ridley-Thomas was necessary regardless of potential political blowback, arguing the scandal would hurt all incumbents and make people think “that the council’s corrupt.”

Gosh, how might people get that impression?

There is no doubt about the authenticity of the recording. City Council President Martinez has apologized, sort of:

On Sunday, after this article was published online, Martinez issued a statement apologizing for her comments, saying, “In a moment of intense frustration and anger…

The conversation reflects cold, cynical political calculation, not frustration and anger.

…I let the situation get the best of me and I hold myself accountable for these comments.”

Will she “hold herself accountable” by resigning? Just kidding.

“The context of this conversation was concern over the redistricting process and concern about the potential negative impact it might have on communities of color,” she added. “My work speaks for itself. I’ve worked hard to lead this city through its most difficult time.”

“Communities of color” is Democrat-speak, but in fact the recorded conversation was largely about how Los Angeles Latinos can gain at the expense of blacks, and it included racist epithets directed at a two year old black boy.

If, like me, you have wondered how Democrat-controlled cities can possibly be such a mess, this story suggests an answer: the corruption that prevails is beyond anything a normal person can imagine.

STEVE adds: John is being too kind to call these people mere fools. It is much worse: it explains why liberalism is obsessed with racism, because it is liberals who are the principal racists in America today. Liberals really do believe that minorities are inferior and can’t possibly make it on their own, can’t possibly be expected to be judged according to the same standards as whites (or Asians). This clashes badly with their core egalitarian principle, which compels them thus to lie about everything and blame “systemic racism.” The racism expressed in this episode stems directly from the endless condescension liberals have for minorities. Which they then project on to everyone else, poisoning American politics.

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