(CNN) — A day after Los Angeles City Council’s president resigned from her post for making racist remarks, the new acting president proposed several changes to help move the city forward.
During a loud and contentious council meeting Tuesday — the first meeting since the scandal broke — Acting President Mitch O’Farrell proposed “major reform of the city charter, city council and how we approach redistricting, representation — the topics at the center of this crisis.”
He called for expanding the council and an independent redistricting commission to map out representation of the “diverse metropolis.”
It was the first council meeting since audio posted online revealed then-President Nury Martinez made racist comments about another council member’s family and said that colleague’s son “needs a beatdown.”
The remarks were part of leaked audio that was posted anonymously on Reddit and obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Martinez publicly apologized for her comments Monday and resigned from her post as council president. On Tuesday, she also took a leave of absence from the council.
What the new proposals include
O’Farrell presented a motion for a ballot measure that could be posed to voters to decide if the council should grow.
The number of members — 15 — has not changed since 1925, when Los Angeles had less than 1 million residents, O’Farrell said.
The city’s population has since quadrupled, according to US Census data.
“This council should reflect and represent the residents we serve,” O’Farrell said. “A ballot measure that increases the number of council seats to help us meet that goal and involve Angelenos in the process, as will an immediate redistricting process, should the people decide they want an expanded city council.”
When the council reconvenes Wednesday, members will discuss another ballot measure that calls for an independent redistricting commission that would determine the boundaries set every 10 years.
Calls for more resignations intensify
The leaked audio captured conversation from October 2021. According to The Los Angeles Times, the conversation involved Martinez, councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera.
Much of the conversation focused on maps proposed by the city’s redistricting commission and the councilmembers’ frustration with them, as well as the need to “ensure that heavily Latino districts did not lose economic assets” in the once-in-a-decade process, according to the Times.
The councilmembers then discussed Councilmember Mike Bonin, a White man. In clips of the leaked audio posted by the Times, Martinez is heard recounting a conversation and says “Bonin thinks he’s f**king Black.”
According to the Times, Martinez says Bonin appeared with his son on a float in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade and he “handled his young Black son as though he were an accessory.” The boy is 8 years old, according to a Facebook post by his father.
The Times reported that Martinez also said of Bonin’s child, “Parece changuito,” or “He’s like a monkey.”
In the leaked audio, Martinez can be heard speaking about Bonin’s son allegedly misbehaving while at the parade by hanging from a railing of their float, saying “this kid is going to tip us over.”
“They’re raising him like a little White kid,” Martinez said in the audio released by The Times. “I was like, this kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.”
CNN has not been able to verify the audio recording. But the fallout has been swift.
On Monday, Herrera resigned as president of Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
And some Los Angeles residents — including city council members — have called for the full resignation of Martinez, de Leon and Cedillo.
“I do not believe we can have the healing that is necessary or govern as we need to while council members Martinez, de Leon, and Cedillo remain as members of this council,” O’Farrell, the acting president, said Tuesday.
A motion to elect a new council president will be heard next Tuesday.
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