LA City Councilman Kevin de León says he intends to remain in office despite calls for his resignation

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Embattled Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León says he has no intention of stepping down, despite calls from protesters, his fellow councillors, and even President Biden.

De León is embroiled in a town hall scandal in which he and two other council members were recorded in conversation making racist remarks and discussing how to play the city’s redistribution process.

With the footage leaked, former Council President Nury Martinez resigned her seat. De León and council member Gil Cedillo are facing increasing calls for their resignation.

De León – who had remained publicly silent after the controversy erupted – said Univision on Wednesday he intends to keep his place.

“I will not resign because there is still a lot to do,” he said in a Spanish-language interview. “The crisis in the district, the infections, the unemployment, the threat of evictions, the humanitarian homeless crisis.”

Cedillo lost his election this summer and his term ends in December unless he resigns before then. De León has two more years in office.

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Most other council members have also said publicly that de León and Cedillo should step down, saying the city cannot heal until that happens.

The City Council has no power to remove a member from office unless there is a serious criminal charge. The only way to force de León out of office, other than public pressure, is to launch a recall campaign.

President Joe Biden addressed the controversy last week. A White House spokesman said the President believes all Council members involved in the recorded conversation should resign.

“He thinks they should all resign,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a White House briefing.

Black Lives Matter protesters have camped near de León’s Eagle Rock home and say they won’t leave until he’s gone. They were upset by discussions in the taped redistribution conversations, in which council members appeared to be looking for ways to reduce representation of the city’s black community.

Another group of protesters attempted to force their way into City Hall on Tuesday, apparently attempting to shut down the city council meeting, although it was being held virtually. Some could be heard chanting, “No layoffs, no meeting.”

De León apologized to the public in the Univision interview.

“I feel really bad, I’m very sorry for the damage, for the wounds that are in our communities today,” he said. “I am so sorry. I’m sorry and so I apologize to all my people, to my entire community, for the damage caused by the painful words that were said last year.”

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Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. LA City Councilman Kevin de León says he intends to remain in office despite calls for his resignation

Laura Coffey

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