LOS ANGELES, CA (KABC) – Kevin de León, the embattled Los Angeles City Councilmember, spoke about his decision on Friday. To stay in office despite widespread calls for him to resign.
The pressure on De León to resign stems from his participation in a recorded conversation in which Latino officials made crude, racist remarks while plotting to expand their political power.
Former City Council President Nury Martinez has resigned due to the scandal.
Councilmember Kevin de León says of his constituents: 'If I were to step down, then they'd have no voice in City Hall' https://t.co/OT5KbJzM7j
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) October 21, 2022
After speaking with several news outlets this week and apologizing for what he described as a leadership failure.
De León is asked if he believes the interviews will help him keep his seat on the council. “No, because — in the end — it’s not about me,” De León replied. “It ultimately comes down to the voice of my constituents in (Council District) 14 – a district that historically marginalized for decades, if not generations, for various reasons. They would have no say in City Hall if I stepped down.”
Couldn’t someone else take over and represent the people of that district?
“I’m sure I’m not the only one. Assuming that I am a representative for them,” De León said. “However, if I stepped down and was replaced by a caretaker, they would have no say in City Hall.” That is simply the bottom line. This district is underrepresented, underfunded, and under-resourced.”
The City Council met For the first time since De León’s death and announced that he would not resign on Friday.
The council has met this week despite de León and fellow Councilman Gil Cedillo‘s refusal to resign, with only ten members – the bare minimum for a quorum – present for most Tuesday and Wednesday’s meetings. De León and Cedillo had not attended a council meeting since they were forced to leave last Tuesday as protesters yelled at them.
The conversation in October 2021 between De León and fellow Councilmembers Nury Martinez and Cedillo, in addition to being part of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. President Ron Herrera included racist remarks and discussions about favorable redistricting.
“I failed at that moment, that meeting that we’re talking about today,” De León told ABC7.
Is that to say that he has never failed in that way before?
“No — under any other circumstances,” De León said. “I failed when they slandered our Oaxacan community.” It’s a community I care deeply about, and I’ve always stood up to protect the various dialects and indigenous groups within the Oaxacan community — Mixtecs and Zapotecs.
“At the time, you couldn’t see it, but I had a very disparaging expression on my face.” But I should express my displeasure with what is being said.”
What would persuade De León to resign?
“In the end,” he said, “my constituents elected me.” “It’s up to my constituents; if they decide that I move forward and step down, I’ll accept it.”
— Stefanie Dazio (@steffdaz) October 22, 2022
Members of the public who attended Friday’s virtual City Council meeting expressed their displeasure with De León and Cedillo’s continued tenure.
During the public comment, one man said, “Stop this meeting.” “There will be no “business as usual” with Kevin De León, and Gil Cedillo is racist on City Council. The general public is already working hard to recall KDL, but this council continues to let the city down by normalizing the motives those council members have expressed.”