L.A. City Council member sparks controversy with remarks

By Raymond Nava

Kevin De Leon has been a disgrace ever since leaked audio of him making racist remarks came out in October 2022.

De Leon ran for reelection to his city council seat despite calls for him to resign after his racist remarks were leaked. The primary election was March 5.

De Leon was once a power legislator, having served as president pro tempore of the California State Senate.

After being term-limited from his senate seat, he challenged Senator Dianne Feinstein in the 2018 senate election, ultimately losing to her by 10 points.

He eventually was elected to the Los Angeles City Council and represented the 14th district in 2020.

In 2022, De Leon ran for L.A. mayor, coming in third place and failing to make the runoff in the June primary.

In the leaked recording, De Leon can be heard making racist and demeaning remarks towards the black community.

De Leon referred to fellow councilman Mike Bonin’s handling of his son as the same way Nury Martinez, who was also involved in the scandal, handles a Louis Vuitton handbag. Bonin’s son is black.

De Leon was also caught on tape wanting to gerrymander the city council districts to eliminate black seats.

He also referred to Bonin, who is white, as the council’s fourth black member and accused him of not standing with the Latino community.

De Leon would get into a physical altercation at a protest in December 2022.

He was recorded putting his hands near a protester’s neck who was blocking an exit and throwing him down onto a table.

Despite De Leon calling his comments wholly inappropriate and that they fell “short of the expectations we set for our leaders,” he refused calls to resign.

If De Leon truly believed his characterization of his comments, he would have done the right thing and resigned.

Instead, not only is De Leon still on the council, he is running for reelection.

De Leon’s remorse for his comments are nothing but words.

De Leon is undeserving of serving on the city council.

I say this as someone who lives in the district, who had him serve as my state senator.

I even voted for him in his race for United States senate in 2018 and even phone banked for him.

When the scandal broke, it infuriated me. His refusal to resign infuriated me even more.

De Leon faces a slew of challengers in his bid for reelection.

Among some of the challengers are assembly members Wendy Carrillo and Miguel Santiago.

I don’t know who I should have voted for, but I certainly didn’t vote for De Leon.

Whether other people in the district wanted to give him a second chance, they’ll have to have been the judge of that.

Update:

This article was originally printed before the March 5 primary election. Some of the tenses in the article have been changed because it was published online at a later time.

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