Despite calls from countless Democrat colleagues to resign, including President Joe Biden, Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León has no intention to do so.
Earlier this month, audio was leaked where de León is heard participating in a racist conversation led by then-council president Nury Martinez, who has since resigned because of the fallout. Along with de León and Martinez, other city leaders who were recorded were Councilman Gil Cedillo and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, who resigned from his position soon after.
Like De León, Cedillo has not offered his resignation, but his term on the council is over at the end of the year since he failed to win his last election. De León’s term, however, will run through 2024.
The embattled councilman suggests that all it will take is “hard work” to “regain the trust of my colleagues” during an interview with CBS Los Angeles. “I have to repair. I have to help heal. I have to help restore,” de León said.
He added that his decision not to resign comes down to the constituents in his district and the importance that they are represented on the city council. “It’s about City District 14,” he said. “A district that’s been underrepresented and has gone through much difficulty in the past without political representation…They do deserve political representation.”
Earlier this week, de León and Cedillo were stripped of their committee assignments, so it’s difficult to understand how de León plans to represent his constituents with little power – or respect – on the council.
In the leaked audio, which was recorded during a private meeting in October 2021, Martinez referred to the Black son of another councilman, Mike Bonin, who is white, as a “changuito” (little monkey). She also called the young boy an “accessory.” The comment prompted De León to then compare him to a Louis Vuitton bag that Martinez carried. During his interview with CBS Los Angeles, de León called his remarks “flippant.”