Column: Racist Remarks Have No Place in Politics or Government

The ugly side of our discourse rears its head once again!

By Nick Antonicello

Some thirty years ago Rodney King became a household name within LA’s culture when he uttered the words, “People, I just want to say, can’t we all get along?”

For since that tragic time, the emergence of racism comes and goes, ebbs and flows.

So in the heat of another political campaign for Mayor and seats on the LA City Council, three sitting members in Nury Martinez, Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo were caught in a recorded conversation and exposed for all to hear find themselves on the brink of political extinction as the comments made by the three have literally shaken Los Angeles to it’s core.

Council member Nury Martinez was forced to exit as council president, and has since resigned as an avalanche of political backlash has ascended on City Hall by the minute and the two other culprits Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo (Is a lame-duck and his term ends this January, Cedillo was defeated for reelection in the June 8th Primary), are also collateral damage to a conversation that was beneath any rational explanation!

There seems to be no one, and rightly so that has come to their collective defense as it seems just at matter of time when all three will leave public life, and not on their own terms.

And it is quite sad that while making such toxic commentary, they have forced candidates they support to retreat and separate themselves from such comment and sadness.

In the case of CD-11 hopeful Traci Park, her campaign had to issue statements of retraction of the support of both Martinez and Cedillo. Her campaign was swift to not only take the appropriate action, but to offer support and empathy to the man she wants to replace, Councilmember Mike Bonin.

It was the right thing to do and that action speaks to the core of what someone is really all about.

In the case of Erin Darling, he also has called for swift and immediate action by the LA City Council while displaying the same level of support for the retiring council member that has endorsed his progressive and new ideas run for public office.  

As a husband and father of a child of his own, Darling understands this kind of hateful politics and racial partisanship needs to stop.  

Putting people over the politics, as well as the fear and resentment, and working to ensure LA is economically diverse and opportunity for all, is a central theme to succeed Bonin in this highly competitive race for this open seat in CD-11.

For the “scorched earth” politics we see now and witness further as we get closer to the actual election in the end rarely persuades anyone.

Stealing lawn signs and Social Media posts that attack, and do not inform never work.

Anonymous attacks of individuals not even on the ballot, including myself by cowards who won’t own up to such tactics in the end just backfire. Inferring I am some kind of “communist” would make Joe McCarthy proud when all I truly am is a volunteer and a Venice believer that we can do things better, we can expect better results.

For that is something that will always encourage me to stay involved and engaged.

What voters really want is an honest discussion of the issues like the question of encampments and homelessness here in Venice and around the city.

The argument should be who has the best plan, not some notion one candidate is condoning street living.

It is simply not the case and a false narrative that need not be repeated any longer.

The “guilt by association” narratives are simple and are embraced by those who fail to think.

The politics of today is simplicity.

Simplifying complexity into sound bites. For this is what candidates today spend their campaign dollars hoping it gets them the brass ring so to speak!

I took the time to watch both Erin Darling and Traci Park in their interviews with the Homeless Committee of the VNC.

I was the only individual to report on those healthy and sober discussions and the offered analysis of the problem at hand. And if one watches both of these presentations, the differences in style are obvious, but the solutions offered by both are interesting, workable and an improvement on the problem that currently exists today.

For in the end, they both identified what can be done and what should be done minus the retorts,  and the reactionary surplus rhetoric that just turns voters off in an election where a large turnout is critical.

I rarely agree with Mike Bonin, especially his handling of the current homeless crisis.

It is on policy, not personality that we disagree.

He is bright guy, and has decades of substantial public service.  

And these outrageous personal attacks upon him and his son shatter the discourse, and only make solutions more difficult to achieve.

There will be a wholesale changing of the guard on this council, as well as a new mayor and these sixteen individuals collectively will need to come to a consensus on homelessness as well as so many other issues facing our neighborhood and city.

For Mike Bonin was thoughtful in his remarks at City Hall today.

“I am a Dad who loves his son. I want to leave with love and generosity.”

Who can disagree with that?

Nick Antonicello is a longtime Venetian covering the race in CD-11 and for Mayor of LA. Have a take or a tip? Contact him at nantoni@mindspring.com

in Opinion
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