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Angelenos React To Councilmember Kevin De León’s Decision To Stay. 'I Don’t Think He’s Reading The Room'

Kevin De Leon gives an interview to KCAL9 October 19, 2022 saying he will not resign from office. He appears in a television studio wearing a gray suit. The image from the TV broadcast has a chyron at the bottom of the screen that reads Breaking News, KCAL 9 exclusive, CBS News Los Angeles, with a strip below it displaying regional weather temperatures.
Kevin de León gives an interview to KCAL9 on Oct.19, 2022, saying he will not resign from office.
(Screenshot from KCAL9)
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Community members and experts say embattled L.A. City Councilmember Kevin de León faces a tough road ahead as he announced Wednesday that he will keep his seat despite calls for him to step down.

In an interview with KCAL9, de León, who was involved in a racist recorded conversation last year that was leaked last week, said he wanted to be part of the healing as a city. Efrén Pérez, a professor of political science and psychology at UCLA, says that will be challenging.

“I don't think he's reading the room very correctly,” Pérez said. “Essentially, what you have seen many Latino residents sort of say is, with a fairly unified voice, ‘Look, we don't want our community to stand for this.”

Acting City Council president Paul Krekorian voiced similar views in an interview Thursday on our newsroom's public affairs show, AirTalk, which airs on 89.3 KPCC.

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“He has talked about the need for representation in his district and how that is motivating him," Krekorian said. "The best way to ensure effective representation for his district is for him to resign immediately so we can set a special election and get a full-time council member to represent that district.”

He added, “It’s not about him. This is about the future of the city of Los Angeles and the best interests of the 14th District.”

What De León's Future Might Look Like

Pérez says de León, who’s 55 and was once State Senate president, could have a long career ahead of him, and that if he did resign now, people might then give him a second chance down the road.

“I don't get the reasoning behind [his decision] from a political standpoint, other than I gotta keep my job,” Pérez said.

Angelenos are voicing that they cannot heal with De León still in office.

Community Coalition, a nonprofit in South LA, said in a statement, “Every day that you stay on the City Council, you inflict mental and emotional violence on the people of Los Angeles, who were sickened and outraged by your disgraceful participation in that horrific conversation.”

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Magic Johnson also weighed in.

Protests Continue

Protestors say they will camp out outside of de León’s house until he resigns.

The City Council meets again on Friday. De León and Councilman Gil Cedillo, who also participated in the meeting where the racist remarks were made and led to the resignations of former Council President Nury Martinez and L.A. Federation of Labor president Ron Herrera, have been absent for the most recent meetings.

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