Racist leaked audio. Corruption. City Hall in chaos. L.A. politics faces a perilous moment

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Los Angeles City Hall has felt under siege the last few years.

Three current or former City Council members have been indicted or pleaded guilty to corruption charges. Former lawyers at the city attorney’s office are facing prison time in a legal scandal. The former head of the Department of Water and Power is serving time for bribery. And Mayor Eric Garcetti has not left office for a post in India because of allegations that the mayor’s office covered up sexual harassment by a top aide.

Yet another scandal burst into public view over the weekend when the release of a secret audio recording revealed a closed-door meeting in which the City Council president, two of her colleagues and the county’s top labor official discussed race and power in coarse and at times racist terms behind closed doors.

Facing backlash, Nury Martinez apologized and stepped down Monday as council president, though she did not resign from the council. The remarks, she said, were made during a heated conversations last year about redrawing the boundaries of the 15 council districts.

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