Embattled Los Angeles councilman Kevin de Leon, who was caught up in a scandal involving a group of Latino council members who made racist remarks about black voters and officials that were recorded and leaked, is the only one involved refusing to resign after the scandal.
Besides de Leon, Nury Martinez, Ron Herrera, and Gil Cedillo were involved in the scandal, but have all resigned since the leak of the meeting, which happened last year.
De Leon was considered a “rising star” and trailblazer in his party, having served in the state senate previously–elected Senate president in 2014–and then being elected to the council in a special election in 2020.
President Biden and nearly all California Democrats called on him to resign after the October audio leak, but he has refused.
Leaving it up to constituents
“He’s staying and that’s it,” de Leon’s spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “He’s made the decision to stay and represent his constituents on the pressing issues facing them.”
“At the end of the day, Councilmember de León is elected by the constituents of his district,” he continued. “They’re his bosses. They hire and fire him at the voting booth.”
But the press isn’t letting go of the situation, continuing to ask him questions and challenge his answers.
CNN’s Kate Bolduan: “Why are you not resigning?”
Kevin de Leon: I’m sorry for not standing up at that meeting and I’m now having constructive conversations on it.
Bolduan: It wasn’t that you just didn’t stand up, you compared a young Black kid to a luxury handbag. pic.twitter.com/OjyLlBwmAt
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) December 13, 2022
Unrest and protests
Other members of the council have accused de Leon of being “racist” and “homophobic,” including Nithya Raman and Eunisses Hernandez, who are members of the Democratic Socialists of California.
There were also protests at the council meeting where de Leon appeared for the first time since the audio was leaked.
The public unrest led to De Leon getting into an altercation with a resident attending a tree lighting ceremony Tuesday evening, which was caught on video and posted to Twitter.
Complete video of fight involving Kevin De Leon pic.twitter.com/gEctXIbWDc
— Downtown LA Scanner (@DowntownLAScan) December 11, 2022
On his way out?
De Leon has been censured and stripped of his committee assignments, but still collects a $229,000 salary. This is $40,o00 higher than U.S. Congress members make.
There is an active petition to recall de Leon from the council, but it needs 20,000 signatures by March 31, 2023 to force a vote.