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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

LA Times Silent on Nury Martinez' COVID Hypocrisy, Censorship

By Daniel Guss

@TheGussReport - It was clear early on that when LA City Council chose Nury Martinez to succeed the perpetually self-dealing Herb Wesson as its president, she was disinclined to do the one thing that Wesson did well: Lead.  

(Photo: LA City Council President Nury Martinez pontificates about masking, but needs practice on proper usage, though she did have time to get her name printed on hers.)

While Wesson led through intimidation, it ultimately led to his getting trounced by Holly Mitchell in his subsequent run to become an LA County Supervisor. Martinez' brand of leadership was quickly identified as faulty, as well.

As I wrote in this column at that time:

"Gadfly Patricia McAllister had just about enough with Nury's failure to embrace responsibility, letting it rip with this take: 'I want to say that Ms. Martinez, you brought your mother and everybody here and we gave you a good welcome. You're not woman enough to be up on that podium? (Ryu) is not the president. . . If you want to be with the boys, you got to do your job, okay? You're supposed to be at that podium, ma'am. . . Now you be a woman and stand-up for women and do your job. . . Now you wanna run with the boys, you gotta be like the boys, okay. . . Now you wanna get that kind of respect, you be like the boys. Get that skirt off, put some pants on and do your job.'" 

McAllister made a valid if abrasively colorful point: Being LA City Council president means leadership, including running meetings, agenda management and drinking up criticism rather than being thin-skinned and just embracing the "historic!" title of the first Latina in that role.  Pat Russell was LA's first female Council president from 1983-87.  (Is it still okay for us to use the word "female?")

So let's look closer at Martinez' recent and ongoing heavy-handedness with censorship.

She is now armed with a COVID requirement for most indoor places in LA but continues to use the pandemic to silence the public, especially her critics, who want to attend Council meetings.

Over the past several weeks, Council's in-person meetings have resumed in LA City Hall's John Ferraro Chambers. But "in-person" in this instance means only maskless City Councilmembers and their staff.

Martinez continues to exclude the public from attending in-person, masked or not, even with proof of vaccination and has refused to respond to requests to explain her policy.

Why do you suppose that is?

Most Councilmembers have been maskless at their recent meetings, bellowing within feet of one another, and not just during their turn to speak. Why isn't the public allowed to attend those same meetings maskless, provided they have proof of vaccination?

Maskless Mike Bonin

Maskless Kevin DeLeon

Maskless Paul Koretz

Maskless Mitch O'Farrell

Maskless Mark Ridley-Thomas and Maskless Paul Krekorian

Maskless Gil Cedillo

Maskless Bob Blumenfield

It is because barring even the vaccinated public lets Martinez censor criticism by forcing everyone to attend via Zoom where she and those she assigns can exert control with the push of a button, even though she and her colleagues richly deserve the criticism which is an inherent part of a politician's life.  

In fact, criticizing politicians is an inherently American tradition.

Her unwillingness to face and absorb criticism is another example of Martinez' failed leadership. She and Deputy City Attorney Strefan Fauble pick and choose whose phone numbers get called to speak during Council meetings and at their smaller Committee meetings. 

Strefan Fauble

More importantly, either they or their designees choose which phone numbers do not get chosen to participate.

Further, Fauble, City Hall's School-Marm-in-Residence, feigns not knowing which item the chosen speaker is addressing and consistently talks over callers who are on-topic in order to eat away at their precious one minute to speak. He also randomly disconnects their calls rather than letting people who might not have his law school polish make their own points in their own ways.

That's what we call punching down at the little guy.  

Then there's the retaliation. 

Fauble, who has a forthcoming complaint to the State Bar of California for, among other things, threatening to have this columnist arrested for simply attempting to use his duly issued LAPD press pass at a Council meeting, also drags his feet on responding to public records requests endeavoring to determine which callers called-in first to meetings so they can be compared to callers he allowed to speak who did not call-in as early.

Perhaps Mr. Fauble forgot about a certain 1st Amendment lesson while at the University of Texas Law School. Or perhaps he didn't and feels he has free reign to violate others' rights.

What Fauble doesn't forget to do is continue to maliciously expose this columnist's personal data in public records requests for the umpteenth time. Cue the next claim and lawsuit.

That leads us to the question of the day: Why hasn't the LA Times pointed out Martinez' ongoing censorship by refusing to allow the public to attend Council meetings? That's what its news reporters like David Zahniser, Dakota Smith and Emily Alpert Reyes should have reported months ago.

And why hasn't the El Segundo Times Editorial Board called for Martinez' attendance ban to end so constituents and community stakeholders have the same direct access to the meetings enjoyed by Martinez, her 14 Council colleagues, Fauble and their minions?

That is, after all, the point of a news organization.  

Where are you on this, LA Times? Isn't that "the type of journalism" that you promise when pleading for the public to spend 99-cents for an introductory subscription?

If the Times doesn't give a rat's petard about the public, why should the public feel any better about subscribing to the Times? 

(Presently using mi amigo Scott's sign-in until our new Mayor Sam 2.0 tech matters are ironed out)

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