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What You Need To Know Today: LA Reacts to Kevin de León's Refusal To Resign, LA’s Dwindling Affordable Housing, Why LA Needs A Wildlife Crossing

Kevin De Leon, who has medium-tone skin, holds a mic
Los Angeles City Council member Kevin de León
(Patrick T. Fallon
AFP via Getty Images)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Friday, October 21.  

Today in How To LA: LA reacts to Kevin de León's refusal to resign, LA lost more affordable housing than it gained; plus, why LA needs a multi-million dollar wildlife bridge

Just two weeks ago, we had 15 L.A. City Council members who, as far as we all knew, were in good standing, all serving their constituents. There were Angelenos who were in support of the things they were doing for the city. But then came the tape.

Three of the councilmembers — Nury Martinez, Gil Cedllio and Kevin de León - were all heard saying some ugly, racist and homophobic things. Since then the public has called for them to resign. But only Martinez has done so. Kevin de León went on television this week to say that he wouldn’t.

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“No, I will not resign, because there is a lot of work ahead,” De León said in an interview in Spanish with Noticiero Univision.

“We need to heal as a city, and we need to come together and heal as a city. And I want to be part of that,” he told KCAL9 in another interview.

Amir Whitaker, the Senior Policy Counsel at the Southern California chapter of ACLU, told us last week he felt “tricked” by de León. He shared that sentiment in a recent opinion article for NBC News, writing about being a Black man living in Council District 14, de León’s district.

Whitaker noted that he had almost supported de León’s bid for mayor this year. That’s how much he believed in de León's ability to have his and his community’s best interests at heart. But after hearing de León casually compare the voice of Black Angelenos to the Wizard of Oz, suggesting that it’s loud but weak, Whitaker was heartbroken.

My colleague Elly Yu talked to UCLA professor Efrén Pérez about de León's refusal to resign. He said de León is not "reading the room.” 

Though some of de León's constituents told the Los Angeles Times they want him to stay, others insist he needs to go. Staying on without the support of his colleagues will make his job more difficult. It’ll be harder to get things done. But Pérez told Elly that if de León did resign, he might have a good chance to win people back.

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

How To LA podcast host Brian De Los Santos heard from CD14 residents about their feelings on de León’s refusal to resign. Listen here.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

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The News You Need After You Stop Hitting Snooze

*At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

  • With the dramatic increases in rent over the past few years, it’s no wonder that L.A. still has a reputation of being extremely unaffordable. Our city has lost 8 times more housing than the it gained for Angelenos with the lowest incomes. 
  • Next month, Pasadena voters will get to choose if they want to adopt rent control, through the Measure H initiative. This measure would cap yearly rent increases and put forth new eviction protections. 
  • Three years ago, 4-year-old Alessa Farjado was killed in Koreatown by a driver on her way to school. My colleague Ryan Fonseca says Koreatown residents are still waiting for changesto the dangerous intersection.
  • The increase in wildfires in 2020 has eradicated progress in decreasing carbon emissions over the past 16 years. 
  • Less people are going to college nationwide and in California. Declines in undergraduate enrollment have slowed down compared to the past two years in the pandemic, but it’s still concerning to academic experts. 
  • L.A. has hit the $1-billion earthquake milestone. Seven years into the city’s safety campaign, city leaders retrofitted 8,000 in order to withstand future earthquakes. (Los Angeles Times
  • Jacquelyn Revere will never forget the day she found out her mom had dementia. Learn how she found a community of supporton TikTok through the hashtag “dementia”. 
  • My colleague Kyle Stokes talked to all four of the L.A. Unified School board candidates about where they stood on major issues. Check out his breakdownon the candidates in District 2 and 6. 
  • Animation is Film Festival. A “Terror” Trail. A Garden Party for an indie zine. From the looks of these events and more on the Best Things To Do This Weekend list, it sounds like this weekend will be a blast.

Wait! One More Thing...Why We Need A Bridge To Save LA's Mountain Lions

Four mountain lion kittens huddle together beneath dried branches and sticks. The kittens are tan with black spots.
Mountain lion kittens found near an office building in Thousand Oaks.
(Courtesy National Park Service)

Did you know that there are four thousand unique species of plants and animals in L.A.? That’s fascinating, if you ask me. We happen to live pretty close to a few of these endangered species…particularly the mountain lions.

Sadly, scientists and experts expect these animals to go extinct within 50 years. They are landlocked by freeways and the 101 is the deadliest one for our mountain lions. In the last 20 years, 30 mountain lions have been killed by a vehicle as they attempted to cross the 101 in search of food or a mate.

That’s why the largest wildlife crossing in the world is being built over the 101 near Agoura Hills – for an estimated $87 million.

How To LA’s Brian De Los Santos recently went on a hike with Miguel Ordenaña from the Natural History Museum of L.A. County to talk about why it’s so important to get behind this project and save the pumas and other creatures that inhabit our mountains.

In his chat with Brian, Ordenaña iterates the importance of mountain lions in order to have a healthy ecosystem. If they’re not cared for, then our nature walks, our scenic walks in the park might look very different. 

“The type of vegetation will all start to look the same because it'll get overgrazed by one particular animal because that predator that was keeping that herbivore in check is no longer there,” Ordenaña says. “The area will be more prone to fires. All of these things are connected.”

Listen here.