Mayoral candidates Karen Bass and Rick Caruso both called Monday for the resignations of City Council members Nury Martinez, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, while Bass also said that L.A. County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera should step down as well.

The candidates’ comments came one day after the release of a recorded conversation in which Martinez and de León made racially charged remarks during an October 2021 conversation in which Cedillo and Herrera also took part.

Martinez on Monday stepped down as City Council president but not from the council altogether.

Martinez came under intense fire following Sunday’s release of the conversation, in which she made racist remarks aimed at white Councilman Mike Bonin’s 2-year-old adopted Black son. The group was discussing the politically sensitive process of redrawing council district boundaries.

Martinez, de León, Herrera and Cedillo apologized separately on Sunday, and Martinez issued more apologies Monday in announcing her resignation as council president.

But many officials said the apologies were not sufficient. Monday, Bass and Caruso became the latest prominent figures — including City Attorney Mike Feuer, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California, and an array of community and political organizations — to call for resignations.

“Los Angeles must move in a new direction, and that is not possible unless the four individuals caught on that tape resign from their offices immediately,” Bass said in a statement.

“I want to again say to the innocent child who is caught in the middle of this that he is beautiful, brilliant and loved.

“This weekend, from some of LA’s most powerful leaders, we heard racism and bigotry against Black, Indigenous, LGBTQ+, Armenian and other Angelenos, as well as slurs against a child. We also heard them stoking the divide between our city’s Black and Latino communities.

“To move forward as a city, we must move past the politics of divide and conquer. There is no place for division and hate in Los Angeles.”

For his part, Caruso issued a statement calling the episode “a heartbreaking day for our proud, diverse city.” He called the comments in the conversation “racist and deeply offensive.”

“Now, we must unite and strongly repudiate what was said,” Caruso said. “My heart goes out to Councilman Bonin and his family. Now, strong action must be taken. I am calling on City Council President Nury Martinez to do the right thing and immediately resign her office. I believe Councilman Kevin de León should do the same, as should my friend, Councilman Gil Cedillo.

“I do believe that in their hearts they are better people than the vile comments we heard on that tape. But they also know they are role models and they have let our city down. Being a leader means taking full responsibility for your actions. In this important moment for our city, anything short of resignation completely fails that test.”

The candidates’ comments came one day before they are scheduled to square off in their third debate — at which the topic of the racist remarks will surely play a prominent role.

Bass also said that, on Tuesday, she will convene “a diverse group of leaders from across the city to lay out an action plan to move us toward unity and progress.”

“For the remainder of this campaign and, I hope, as your mayor, my focus will always be on bringing our city together to build a stronger future for every Angeleno,” Bass said.

Outgoing Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a statement Monday afternoon also calling for the council members to resign.

“Bigotry, violence, and division too often live in unseen and unheard places, but have severe consequences on the lives of our fellow Angelenos when they are not confronted and left to infect our public and private lives,” Garcetti said. “Stepping down from the council would be the right response by these members in a moment that demands accountability and healing at a time of great pain and deep disappointment.

“I’ll spend my remaining days at City Hall moving kindness, transparency and respect forward as core values of our city. This is the time to not only stand up to the things we are against, but to do the hard work of bringing about the things we are for — a city of belonging and accountability.”

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