Even tape-recorded evidence of his racist remarks against his own constituents can’t keep a Los Angeles politician from running for re-election. Hey, at least he’s not running for president from a prison cell! Here is what’s happening.
They Had a Powwow
In October of 2021, Los Angeles city councilman Kevin de León hunkered down with a few of his colleagues to talk about the city’s problems.
It Was a Full House
Also present were fellow council member Gil Cedillo, council president Nury Martinez, and Ron Herrera, County Labor Federation president.
Not a Private Chat
Someone in the room with them, whether one of the group or someone else, decided to record that conversation.
The Truth Got Out
And then, as these things tend to do in the age of the internet, that recording was “leaked” on Reddit in 2022.
They Said What?!
The contents of the recording were shocking and sent L.A. and the nation into a frenzy over what the elected officials had been saying about their own constituents.
Shifting the Power
Much of the talk centered around how they could shift the balance of power throughout the city.
They Played Favorites
In particular, the group batted around ideas for how they could limit the influence black voters had on elections while boosting the hispanic vote.
He Was the Enemy
The group even identified a foe in their fight, with de León noting that L.A. District Attorney George Gascón is “with the blacks.”
He Offended Them All
But de León didn’t limit his attacks to one ethnic group.
When the conversation turned to Mexican immigrants in the Koreatown district of Los Angeles, de León referred to them as “short, dark people.”
The Whole Thing Blew Up
The aftermath of the Reddit posting wasn’t pretty for anyone involved.
There were immediate protests and calls for the politicians to resign, for one thing.
Some Headed for the Hills
And that’s exactly what happened with some of those who were in that racist conversation. Both Martinez and Herrera resigned from their positions.
But They Stood Their Ground
Cedillo and de León made public apologies, but they stayed on the council and steadfastly refused to resign.
Out on His Ear
Cedillo even ran for reelection last fall, but voters told him where to stick it.
He was tossed out on his ear at the end of his term.
He Wants to Stay
Now, it’s de León’s turn to test the waters and see if he can hold onto voter support more successfully than Cedillo did.
He’s Done So Much!
Citing the success he’s had in cleaning up parks and public spaces, as well as making progress to fix the city’s homeless issues, de León is running for re-election this fall.
Tough Climb Ahead
The evidence shows he’s going to have a long climb ahead of him, though.
They Didn’t Want Him to Come Back
Not only did Cedillo get bounced from office, but protestors greeted de León’s own return to the office after two months away following the scandal.
A Crowded Ballot
And, as of late September, The Hill reports that finance filings show there are 10 other candidates who have thrown their hat into the ring for de León’s seat.
No Quick Answers
So, has enough time passed for voters’ wounds to heal, or is de León destined to follow Cedillo out the door? We’ll have to wait until November for the answer.
The Nerve of Some People!
At the very least, voters looking for a candidate with guts have to admire de León’s nerve.
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