With a KBLA Talk 1580 Editorial, I’m Tavis Smiley.
Over the course of this year, I have delivered a number of editorials about the troublesome case of LA City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas.
In each editorial, I laser-focused on three bedrock principles of our democracy: due process, the presumption of innocence and fundamental fairness.
The recent settlement of Ridley-Thomas’s compensation claim is a major victory for due process, the presumption of innocence and fundamental fairness to which we are all entitled.
This settlement represents a tacit acknowledgment by the City of Los Angeles that City Controller Ron Galperin, aided and abetted by City Attorney Mike Feuer and former City Council President Nury Martinez who was forced to resign in disgrace, excessively abused their power.
Their actions were not just legally wrong, they were harmful to Ridley-Thomas’s legal defense. You cannot accuse an individual, take away the seat to which they were duly elected, their healthcare – in the midst of a pandemic, their pension and their salary, then tell them that while they are suspended, they cannot earn outside income, and somehow expect that they will have the resources to fight and defend their good name.
It was preposterous then and, in retrospect, and even more outrageous now.
Much of the blame for this travesty of justice rests squarely on the shoulders of Nury Martinez who allowed her personal political ambitions, racial animosity and thirst for power to override good governance and good judgment. It was abundantly clear on that now infamous leaked audiotape that Martinez wanted to punish and tarnish Ridley-Thomas.
And she did. But she ruined herself in the process.
Big Mama always said, “God don’t like ugly, and ain’t fond of cute.”
Once Nury Martinez’s toxic leadership was no more, the Council quickly and correctly moved to resolve an injustice borne in part by their own rush to judgment and abdication of responsibility in performing due diligence.
Their settlement action this week starts the process of restoring honor and trust.
In March, Ridley-Thomas will finally have his day in court, and a chance to restore his good name.
For KBLA Talk 1580, I’m Tavis Smiley, we welcome your comments.