Los Angeles

“I failed:” Kevin de León tells CBS2 he is refusing to resign from LA City Council

Councilmember Kevin de León told Tom Wait today In a one-on-one Interview that he is refusing to resign from LA City Council, but rather hopes to work towards repairing relationships that have been damaged in recent weeks. 

“I failed in my leadership,” he said. “I didn’t step up and intervene. I didn’t put a stop to it.”

Despite rampant calls for resignation in the nearly two weeks since the leaked audio, de León does not follows the steps of Councilmember Nury Martinez who resigned last Wednesday afternoon.

The leaked audio recorded de León, Martinez and Councilmember Gil Cedillo as well as L.A. County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera. The racist comments were made during an October 2021 conversation about the redistricting process. During the hour-long conversation, the group discussed the redistricting process while also making racist comments about residents and Councilmember Mike Bonin’s Black 2-year-old son.

In the discussion, Martinez referred to Bonin’s son as a “little monkey” in Spanish while de León compared the 2-year-old child to one of Martinez’s handbags. 

“I shouldn’t have made that flippant remark,” he said.

De León claims to have apologized “profusely” to Bonin and his family over voicemail when he didn’t answer his phone call in the wake of the audio leak. He also said that he had planned to publicly apologize at the first City Council meeting since the leak last Tuesday, but was unable to do so.

“These people stabbed us and shot us and cut the spirit of Los Angeles,” said Bonin during an impassioned speech at a City Council meeting. “People should not ask me for forgiveness. I can’t forgive them because it’s not my prerogative. It’s the prerogative of a boy who is too young to really understand what’s going on.”

Herrera was the first of the bunch to resign, doing so a day after the audio was released. 

De León and Cedillo both have yet to step down, despite passionate protests calling for their resignation. Senior politicians such as President Joe Biden, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Mayor Eric Garcetti have denounced the trio and joined the public’s calls for their resignation.

“Bigotry, violence, and division too often live in unseen and unheard places, but have severe consequences on the lives of our fellow Angelenos when they are not confronted and left to infect our public and private lives. Stepping down from the council would be the right response by these members in a moment that demands accountability and healing at a time of great pain and deep disappointment,” Garcetti said in a statement.  

“I accept my responsibility for a lot of that pain that exists today,” de León said Wednesday, noting that he’s reached out to various city leaders and organizations to have “hard conversations” with about his involvement in the incident.

He also said he hasn’t had a chance to speak to Martinez, Cedillo or Herrera since the audio leak.

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