In an exclusive interview with Tom Wait today, Councilmember Kevin de León stated that he is defying pressure to step down from the LA City Council in favor of trying to mend fences that have been broken in recent weeks. “I have to put in the effort. I need to fix it. I must aid in healing. I must contribute to restoration “said the councilman.
De León does not follow the lead of Councilmember Nury Martinez, who resigned last Wednesday afternoon, despite widespread requests for him to do so in the nearly two weeks since the recording was revealed. De León claimed that he would not step down in order to maintain the representation of his District 14 constituents on the City Council.
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He explained, “It’s about City District 14.” A district that has historically been underrepresented and has struggled mightily without political representation “does deserve political representation,” De León, Martinez, Councilman Gil Cedillo, and L.A. County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera were all captured on the recording that was leaked.
The remarks were made during a discussion regarding the redistricting process in October 2021. The group talked about the redistricting process for an hour while also making racial remarks about locals and Councilmember Mike Bonin’s Black 2-year-old kid. He said, “I failed in my leadership.” “I didn’t get involved and step in. I didn’t stop it from happening.”
Martinez referred to Bonin’s son throughout the conversation as a “little monkey” in Spanish, and de León compared the toddler to one of Martinez’s handbags. Later, he claimed that Martinez’s remarks “shocked” him and that his “joke” was intended to mock Martinez’s “penchant for owning fancy goods.” Nevertheless, he expressed regret for his remarks.
Los Angeles Councilmember Kevin de León says he will not resign despite the fallout of leaked audio with racist remarks https://t.co/oKMeDqmCQ3
— Russell Contreras (@RussContreras) October 20, 2022
He said, “I shouldn’t have made that casual remark. De León claimed that when he didn’t pick up the phone after the tape leak, he “profusely” apologized to Bonin and his family over voicemail. He said that he had intended to make a formal apology during the first City Council gathering after the leak last Tuesday, but was unable to do so.
“I apologize. I apologize to my supporters “said he. “I apologize to my coworkers. I apologize to my family and everyone who has helped me, including the family of Mike Bonin.” One day after the recording was made public, Herrera became the first of the group to resign. Despite ardent calls for their resignation, De León and Cedillo have both failed to stand down.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, Governor Gavin Newsom, and President Joe Biden are among the prominent officials who have criticized the trio and called for their resignation. De León stated on Wednesday, “I take my responsibility for a lot of the grief that persists today,” adding that he has spoken with numerous local officials and organizations to have “serious conversations” about his role in the tragedy.
It won’t be simple, he warned. “It will be challenging, as it should be. I anticipate it will be challenging. Because of this, I won’t sugarcoat things or try to shift the blame.” Additionally, he claimed that since the tape leak, he hasn’t had a chance to communicate with Martinez, Cedillo, or Herrera. Just moments after the interview aired, Councilman Bonin tweeted a response.
The tweet read, “He cannot be a part of the healing as long as he refuses to retire.” “The damage he has done to Los Angeles is getting worse because of his willful refusal to do what everyone else knows is required.”