Kevin de León either has balls of brass, or he’s on a fool’s errand. After barely surviving the LAtinX Scandal of 2022, de Leon thinks he will use what is left of his charms to bamboozle his East L.A. constituents into carrying him into another City Council term.
Yeah, good luck with that.
Kevin de León, the Los Angeles City Council member who became politically radioactive after a leaked audio scandal, is running for reelection — a brash bet that voters will salvage his once-ascendant career.
His Wednesday announcement, first reported here, settles the speculation that has consumed Los Angeles politics for nearly a year: whether De León would appear again on a ballot after a chorus of calls for his resignation last fall, including from President Joe Biden.
Residents of Los Angeles and local politicos knew he was going nowhere. But that hasn’t dissuaded de León.
The taped backroom conversation — rife with disparaging and racist language — exposed deep fissures in the city along ethnic and ideological lines, and piled on fresh embarrassment to a City Council already decimated by ethics scandals. As the only participant still in office, De León has been the most visible emblem of an ugly chapter in the city’s history.
Now, he is counting on voters to bring him back from the political wilderness.
In the taped scandal conversation from October of 2021, De León compared former CD-11 City Councilmember Mike Bonin’s adopted Black son to a Louis Vuitton handbag. Not a good look. But, it was probably de León’s refusal to be held accountable and to resign from his City Council seat, despite protests and disruptions in the City Hall chambers and at his home in order to force him to do so, that lost him friends and made him even bigger enemies.
🚨BREAKING: The People have ‘HAD IT’ with Democrats destroying our country, and they’re letting them know quite clearly.
Los Angeles: LA City Councilmembers Kevin De Leon and Gil Cedillo booed out of the chamber! Nury Martinez takes a leave of absence! 👇🧐 pic.twitter.com/NBTR64GYwf
— Epstein’s Sheet. 🧻 (@meantweeting1) September 16, 2023
“When a lot of people that I called my friends and allies turned away from me, my constituents had my back,” De León said in an interview. “I understood in a deeper way the relationship that I had with my community and how that motivates and drives me. That’s why I’m still here. And that’s why I’m running.”
As stated, good luck with that. De León dodged a fourth attempt at a recall in early 2023, so he is no doubt feeling his oats.
In his reelection announcement, De León touted his accomplishments saying he led the fight to expand vaccinations for Black and Brown communities hit hardest by COVID, created the largest tiny home village in the nation for the homeless, doubled illegal dumping crews citywide, secured millions in LAPD overtime for his district, broke ground on two of Los Angeles’ newest parks, and has helped feed more than 35,000 struggling family households.
“In just three years, we’ve made unprecedented strides in our district on the issues that matter the most to my constituents, like improving public safety and tackling homelessness head-on. Our team’s commitment to revitalizing our parks and public spaces has created a safer, more livable community” De León said.
“My constituents deserve this high level of dedicated public service and I’m grateful for their ongoing trust and support. At the end of the day, the heart and soul of the work that we do as council members is about serving the people, especially those that are struggling. That’s what I care about and that’s why I’m running.”
Running away is more his speed, and this is what de León has been doing since the scandal broke in September 2022, with activists hot on his heels. One activist stalked him at a tree-lighting event in his district, and a public altercation ensued.
Jason Reedy is the activist in the video who claims he was assaulted by DeLeon. The video was captured by Roots Action, a progressive group associated with the Democrat Socialists of America Los Angeles (DSA-LA). Like the DSA, Roots Action supports worker solidarity and opposes anyone who challenges this. Currently Roots Action is on a campaign to convince Joe Biden not to run for a second term. They also have no love for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or her successor as Democrat Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.
Party allegiances, along with electoral norms and traditions (read: constitutions and city charters) mean nothing to them. Consider this a warning.
After defeats and resignations due to scandals (pick one, any one), the Los Angeles City Council is halfway taken over by DSA-LA. DSA prom queen Eunisses Hernandez has taken over CD-1, Prom King Hugo Soto-Martinez beat Mitch O’Farrell for CD-13, and they, along with CD-4 trainwreck Nithya Raman, who DSA-LA has already endorsed for re-election, have the council all tied up. So you know that this group will ensure this is de León’s last rodeo, especially with very few allies and plenty of competition. Six other candidates have filed their intention, including Nick Pacheco, who was CD-14 councilman from 1999 to 2003. In other words, an era that time has forgotten, so he has no chance.
Former de León proteges and current Assembly members Wendy Carrillo (AD-52), whose assembly district overlaps Boyle Heights, and Miguel Santiago (AD-54), who also has a portion of Boyle Heights as well as Downtown L.A. have put their hats in the ring. Both Carrillo and Santiago are looking for another soft landing as they have termed out in the Assembly and have no juice (or shot) at the State Senate. So, it’s back to grifting the local populace in the hood. Santiago wasted no time in throwing de León under the bus.
“The time for a change in Los Angeles’ 14th District is now,” Santiago said to City News Service. “The current councilmember’s refusal to respect the overwhelming calls to step down, from the people he is supposed to serve all the way to the president of the United States, is holding back the progress we need on homelessness, housing, and the economic recovery we need in our neighborhoods.”
Former Eric Garcetti aide and current tenant’s rights attorney and activist Ysabel Jurado has also decided she must run for the CD-14 seat.
Ysabel is running for District 14 because she understands the immense powers the City Council holds in Los Angeles – and has watched local representatives betray her community time and again. Her platform focuses on increasing access to housing, ending homelessness, supporting small businesses, and building a more just economy for all.
Three guesses on whose endorsement she acquired.
DSA-LA is excited to announce our first round of candidate endorsements for 2024! We’re proud to re-endorse Nithya Raman (@nithyavraman) for Los Angeles City Council District 4, and endorse Ysabel Jurado (@YsabelJuradoLA) for Los Angeles City Council District 14! pic.twitter.com/bn0YKU3jWM
— DSA-LA 🌹 (@dsa_losangeles) September 20, 2023
De León plans to go down swinging, but with all his unaddressed baggage, the hidden oppo research that will be launched this round, and great assistance from DSA-LA, he will no doubt go down.
Grab your popcorn.