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Racism and redistricting scandal upends Los Angeles politics

Los Angeles-City Council-Racism
Ringo H.W. Chiu
Shervin Aazami holding his son Barrett and a sign protest outside City Hall during the Los Angeles City Council meeting Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, in Los Angeles.

The fallout continues on the Los Angeles City Council afterracist recordings were leaked earlier this month.

On Monday, council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de Leon were stripped of their committee positions, as protests urging them to step down continue. Former Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera both resigned last week due to their involvement in the scandal.

The comments captured in the recording were first reported by the Los Angeles Times on Oct. 9 and led to an immediate uproar. The audio recording contained racist remarks about a white council member’s young Black son, the Oaxacan community, a mainly indigenous region in southern Mexico, as well as other minority groups.

"I think we've seen a contrast between a set of comments that were deeply divisive, that revealed divisions between the Black and Latino communities in Los Angeles, and within the Latino community," said Thad Kousser, professor of political science at the University of California San Diego. "All of these comments were incredibly divisive, but we've seen a unified response."

The conversation in which the comments were made was on the subject of redistricting, leading to new questions about the fairness of the process in Los Angeles.

"I think it's very likely that we'll see a reform to Los Angeles' charter that creates a truly independent redistricting commission, much like the one that we have for the San Diego City Council, for San Diego County Supervisors now, and for the state of California over the past two decades," he said.

Kousser joined Midday Edition Tuesday to talk about the political ramifications the scandal may have on Los Angeles politics.

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