Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de León said in a television interview Wednesday night that he “will not resign” from his position amid a public and political backlash from local, state, and federal officials.
De León, 55, was heard in leaked audio recordings published earlier this month revealing offensive or racist comments made during a meeting with fellow city officials behind closed doors in 2021.
In an exclusive interview on Noticiero Univision, de León said that although he “feels very bad” about the “damage” caused by the conversation, he doesn’t plan on vacating his seat, on which he has two years remaining.
“I will not resign because there is a lot of work ahead of me,” de León told the Spanish news outlet.
De León, who has been tightly holding onto his seat in the wake of the Los Angeles Times report exposing corruption and racism within the city’s chambers, pointed to a range of crises in his district, including infections, unemployment, eviction threats, and homelessness.
“There is a lot of work that we have to face,” he said.
In the recordings, de León compared the way his fellow councilmember Mike Bonin, a white gay man, handles his black son to a handbag, and would later refer to Bonin as the council’s “fourth black member.”
His comments were part of a conversation — focused mainly on the once-in-a-decade city redistricting — with former Council President Nury Martinez, Councilmember Gil Cedillo, and former Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera.
L.A. officials met to discuss how the city would redraw council district boundaries over the next ten years — geared toward helping Latino political leaders maintain their power, re-elect Latino members, and protect economic interests.
While Cedillo said he “should have intervened” when his colleagues used “racially divisive” language, de León said he regrets “appearing to condone and even contribute to certain insensitive comments made about a colleague and his family.”
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