Unsinkable Ship of Fools?

Updating John’s item last night about the recording of blatantly racist remarks by Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez and others, the latest news is that Martinez has resigned as council president—but has not resigned as a member of the council.  I wonder if her $207,000 salary—the highest city council salary in the nation—has something to do with it. Like most political hacks, it is doubtful Martinez could ever command such a salary anywhere in the private sector.

If you Google “LA City Council” right now, you find this little bit of low comedy:

We’ll see if Martinez can hang on to her seat. AFSCME, the public sector union, is demanding Martinez resign from the council, releasing the following statement:

The recently revealed anti-black and anti-Indigenous sentiments expressed during a meeting of several LA public officials and a labor leader are reprehensible.  We condemn these attacks and stand in solidarity with our communities who experience the harms of colorism and anti-black racism.

President Kathryn Lyberger issued the following statement:

“In the labor movement, we must hold ourselves to the core principle of solidarity and live the credo: An Injury to One is an Injury to All. This is central to building the trust and unity that is the bedrock of workers’ power.

“Today, that trust and unity is broken. It has been broken before, and rooting out racism requires constant work and acts of solidarity from everyone in labor. It is incumbent on our leaders to repair beyond apology, with action and accountability.

“Those individuals who are implicated in the recording and who are elected to represent the people must resign now. Labor must hold labor accountable but resignation is the only way to restore the trust that has been broken.

“Anti-blackness and colorism must be called out and confronted everywhere. Justice for all workers can only come when all workers can trust that they are welcome in the house of labor.

We’ll update this story if there are further developments. For the time being, some questions: Who taped and leaked this conversation? Someone who has it in for Martinez and perhaps other hispanics on the council? Someone out for revenge for a slight of some kind? What does this tell us about the internal contradictions of the left’s coalition of “people of color”? In a system that divides the spoils politically, blacks are likely on the losing end of LA’s distributional politics. One can only speculate how common are contemptuous comments like this in the “private” conversations among LA’s hispanic politicians.

Investigators usually start with motives. It will be interesting to see whether there may be other recordings waiting in the shadows. To modify the old Latin phrase, “Cui Bonin?”

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