Embattled L.A. City councilman Kevin de León informed two media outlets on Wednesday that he does not intend to listen to Los Angeles protesters and various colleagues and officials and resign from his role.
Despite calls to resign from Angelinos, President Joe Biden, and nearly all of his colleagues, de León, 55, has stated in interviews with Univision and CBS2 that he will not step down over his involvement in the City Hall leaked audio scandal.
KDL is trying his damn best to distance himself from the racists comments made in that meeting, but he was a willing participant and made several disparaging and anti-Black comments. There is no healing when you’re gaslighting us all. We heard you loud and clear in that audio. https://t.co/bf3Yn18gO8
— Eunisses (@EunissesH) October 19, 2022
“I’ve always been up against many, many challenges,” de León told CBS2. “And obviously, this is the biggest one I’ve ever been confronted with in my life.” de León says that the city needs to heal, and he “wants to be a part of that.”
The October 2021 conversation between de León and then-Council President Nury Martinez, council member Gil Cedillo, and the then-president of the L.A. County Federation of Labor Ron Herrera, included racist comments and discussions over favorable redistricting and led to Martinez resigning her presidency and later her council seat last week.
“I’m not going to mince words,” de León said. “I’m not going to deflect blame. I’m not going to defend the defenseless.”
Angry activists try to force their way into L.A. City Hall as councilmembers vote to elect Paul Krekorian as president. But BLM leader Melina Abdullah says they're "putting someone in place that's actually worse than Nury Martinez." Tonight at 11 from ABC7 https://t.co/l5NgdjjcHO pic.twitter.com/aJtGmyjNuD
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) October 19, 2022
Facing mounting pressure since the tape leaked, de León sent a letter—which was obtained by the Los Angeles Times—to the newly named council president asking to be excused from attending meetings “in the coming weeks” so that he can focus on his efforts to aid the healing process.
Krekorian did not appear to accept de León’s attempts to make amends. In a statement, Krekorian said, “apologies will not be nearly enough to undo the damage that this city has suffered…The only way we can begin to heal as a city is for Mr. de León to take responsibility for his actions, accept the consequences, and step down.”
De León, however, has other plans, stating to Univision, “I will not resign because there’s a lot of work ahead. There’s a lot of work that we have to face. The crisis that is happening in the district, the infections, the unemployment, the threat to eviction, the humanity crisis of the homeless…I’m very sorry. I’m sorry and for that, I ask for apologies from my people, to my people, for the pain that my hurtful words caused from that day a year ago.”
De León has been on the council since 2020 and made an unsuccessful run for mayor this year. He previously served in the state Senate and Assembly.
City News Service contributed to this report