The LA City Council Debacle is not just about Racism

When those who publicly espouse woke identity politics are shown to be racists of the first order one can be forgiven a bit of schadenfreude.

Of the four involved in the now infamous LA Council meeting, two -- Council President Nury Martinez and labor leader Ron Herrera have resigned, the other two -- councilmembers Kevin deLeon and Gil Cedillo have not, though Cedillo is already on his way out at the end of the year after losing his seat in the June primary.

A number of pundits have argued that “cancelling” people because of what they said in a private conversation is exactly what the woke do.  Since we all know what lying corrupt dirtbags politicians are, why should the public be surprised at this sort of thing?

In this case, though, that argument is absolutely wrong because context matters:

The recording was of a meeting regarding the re-districting of city council seats, one of the most important things electeds do -- essentially picking who can vote for whom.  The centrality of this point cannot be disregarded -- this was not some random “a few too many cocktails at a fundraiser” gossip or some bad joke told in passing six years ago; this was them doing their job.

However, it cannot be emphasized enough that this situation is about far more than race, as it has pulled back the curtain and shown the public how LA (and much of government everywhere) actually operates. 

  • Woke Language -- Since all four of the participants are Hispanic and are by definition oppressed, the Left has been trying to sell the idea that systemic racism goes beyond “white supremacy” and really should be reclassified as “light supremacy.”  Just when you thought the linguistic gymnastics could not get any more absurd… at least it rhymes, so that’s a plus
  • Union Corruption -- Herrera was the president of the Los Angeles Federation of Labor, which often spouts identity nonsense.  Of course, anyone without a very specific political axe to grind already knew too many unions care more about political power and perks than their members, let alone the people they serve.  But, like the appalling actions of teachers unions across the country during COVID, this episode truly rips the mask off for everyone except the willfully blind to see.
  • Ethnic Politics -- The thrust of the meeting was how the city could be chopped up to increase the number of Latinos on the council and that that increase should/could come about by the reduction of the number of “black” council seats (48 percent of the city is Hispanic and -- pre-Nury resignation -- there were four Hispanic members while 9 percent of the city is Black and there are three black members).  This effort to tweak the districts shows no concern about properly representing and/or doing good by your community but merely using them as demographic pawns to increase personal power.
  • What Politicians Focus On -- Three city council members and one of the most important unelected official in the city get together and what did they talk about?  Solving homelessness?  Battling crime?  Improving constituent services?  Nope -- it was all about how to increase their personal power and make the union happy (I was an elected for some time and was never privy to any such discussions and actually made sure to schedule an extra 20 minutes every time I went to the grocery store to ensure I had enough time to get complained and/or suggested at while I was trying to figure out what flavor of yogurt to buy.  I was also only offered one bribe, which was either heartening because people knew I wouldn’t take it or sort of depressing because no one thought I was important enough to bother trying to bribe.)
  • Comfortable Corruption --  Los Angeles city government is a cesspool of corruption, to the point that one needs a literal cheat sheet to keep the cases straight. Throw in Mayor Eric Garcetti’s ambassadorial derailment and you have a city that has gone out of control.  Yet one of the most fascinating aspects of the recording is how utterly comfortable all four were with what was occurring.  Clearly, this was not the only time they did things like this.  As they had never been caught before and the fact that it would never even occur to the Los Angeles Times or other local media to investigate “people of color” they didn’t have to worry… they thought.

And the final fallout from the farce is not finished, as another group of power-hungry Angelenos -- the Los Angeles chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America - is prepared to pounce on the politically putrid remains. 

The DSA already has one of its members on the council, got another one (yet-to-be-seated) in the June primary (taking Cedillo’s seat) and saw, overall, five of the nine candidates it endorsed win.

And while it is unknown who leaked the recording, it is known that the meeting took place at union headquarters and that a current DSA-backed candidate is a labor organizer.

The leak opens up Nury’s seat for a special election, possibly will open up de Leon’s and hurts the campaign for city controller of current councilman Paul Koretz, who is locked in a tight battle with another DSA-backed candidate.  In other words, the DSA could emerge as one of the big political winners of situation.

What that could mean is anyone’s guess, but a shift from the current union/developer/entertainment industry/greasy non-profit/identity hustler cabal that runs the city to a city run by people who truly believe that the United States and capitalism and law enforcement and self-governance are inherently evil is a change that boggles the mind.

The city is beyond the frying pan or fire question and swiftly approaching toilet bowl territory, but we may get a bit of inkling if the people of Los Angeles are capable of pulling back from the brink when they vote for a new mayor on November 8.

If it’s Rick Caruso, there is a glimmer of hope yet for the City of Angels.

If it’s Karen Bass, the sewage-soaked slip and slide ride of the past decade or so will just be the beginning.

Thomas Buckley is the former mayor of Lake Elsinore, Cal. and a former newspaper reporter.  He is currently the operator of a small communications and planning consultancy and can be reached directly at You can read more of his work at:

Image: LA City Council 

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