Kevin de León, a member of the Los Angeles City Council, talked about his choice to stay in office despite several requests for him to do so.
De León is under pressure to resign because of his participation in a recorded conversation in which Latino leaders made ugly, racial insults and discussed how to increase their political influence. Nury Martinez, the former president of the City Council, has already resigned as a result of the incident.
After speaking with several news outlets this week and apologizing for what he described as a leadership failure, De León was 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. “Ultimately, it’s about the voice of my constituents in (Council District) 14 — a district that has been historically marginalized for decades, if not generations, for a variety of 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 know I’m not the only one who can represent them,” De León said. “But if I were to step down and be replaced by a caretaker, they would have no say in City Hall. That is simply the bottom line. This district has been underrepresented, underfunded, and under-sourced.”
The City Council met for the first time since De León announced that he will not resign on Friday. The council has met so far this week despite De León and fellow Councilman Gil Cedillo’s refusal to resign, with only 10 members – the bare minimum for a quorum – present for most of Tuesday and Wednesday’s meetings. De León and Cedillo have not attended a council meeting since last Tuesday when they were forced to leave as protesters yelled at them.
Racist remarks and discussions about advantageous redistricting were part of the conversation between De León, fellow Councilmembers Nury Martinez and Cedillo, and Ron Herrera, president of the L.A. County Federation of Labor, in October 2021.
De León admitted, “I failed at that moment, that meeting that we’re talking about today.”
Is that to claim that he has never failed in that way before? De León retorted, “No — in no other circumstances.” “I made a mistake when they belittled our Oaxacan community. I have always spoken up for this community, which I adore, to conserve the numerous dialects and indigenous communities within the Oaxacan community, such as the Mixtecos and Zapotecos.
You couldn’t see it at the time, but I was wearing a really scathing expression. However, I ought to have voiced my disagreement with what was being said. What may persuade De León to resign? Ultimately, he claimed, “my supporters chose me.”
“It’s up to my constituents to decide what to do; if they want for me to go and resign, then I’ll accept it.”
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 period, one man said, “Stop this meeting.” “There will be no “business as usual” with racist Kevin De León and Gil Cedillo on City Council. The public is already working hard to recall KDL, but this council continues to fail its city by normalizing the motives that those councilmembers have expressed.”