Home>Articles>Recall Effort Against LA Councilman Kevin De Leon Filed With City Clerk

Kevin de León. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Recall Effort Against LA Councilman Kevin De Leon Filed With City Clerk

Once acknowledged by KDL, signature gathering may begin as soon as December

By Evan Symon, October 28, 2022 5:14 pm

A recall effort against Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de Leon, who has been embroiled in the Council racist comments recording scandal for most of the month, was launched on Thursday following the LA City Clerk’s office accepting a notice of recall intent from organizers.

De Leon, along with then-City President Nury Martinez, Councilman Gil Cedillo, and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, were found to have made multiple racist and racial comments earlier this month following an audio leak of the four talking during a district realigning meeting last year. In addition to the racist words, the four were also heard plotting to reorganize Council lines to decrease the power of black Councilmembers and others in the city.

In the ensuing weeks, all four made multiple apologies, both Martinez and Herrera resigned, and calls for both de Leon and Cedillo to resign have come from the majority of Angelinos, as well as Mayor Eric Garcetti, Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA), Governor Gavin Newsom, and President Joe Biden. Protests have also been constant against both de Leon and Cedillo, with protestors even appearing outside de Leon’s house non-stop for the past several weeks.

However, de Leon has remained defiant in the growing calls for him to resign. In the past week he has said that he is staying in office as duty for his constituents and has said that a recall would be the only way for him to be removed from office.

“My duty is to represent my constituents,” said de Leon earlier this week. “They are the ones who elected me. If they are the ones who say that I need to leave, then I will respect that decision by them.”

A new recall attempt against KDL

On Thursday, a group of organizers led by Pauline Adkins, who twice previously tried to recall de Leon, gave their notice of intent to recall de Leon to the LA City Clerk’s office.

“Even though the City Council has called for his resignation, and have stripped him of his committee assignments, Kevin de León has refused to resign,” said the notice statement. “He currently cannot represent the stakeholders of Council District 14.”

The City Clerk’s office acknowledged on Thursday that they had accepted the notice, with the whole process starting. De Leon will have 21 days  to confirm that he received the notice to intend to recall. Following acknowledgement, recall organizers will wait 28 days until signature gathering to begin. After that, organizers will then need to collect 21,006 signatures from registered voters in District 14, or 15% of all voters in the district, in 120 days. Once collected and verified, then a special election can be triggered, most likely sometime later next year should everything go to plan.

De Leon’s office responded to the recall notice on Thursday, with de Leon spokesman Pete Brown saying in a statement that “After three failed attempts, yet another recall that distorts his record will not distract the councilmember or his office from continuing to serve the people of Council District 14. He will keep moving forward important projects and issues that threaten the communities and the lives of his constituents.”

“We have an issue where people from both parties and of all races have called for him to step down,” explained Maria Costa, a Los Angeles pollster who focuses on Latino communities, in a Globe interview on Friday. “We have been asking people from the district their opinion about a possible recall, and most people have been for it. And this isn’t just a run-of-the-mill political issue where he can just wait out it falling from public memory. Racial comments are one of those things that stick around and that people remember. Jessie Jackson called New York “Hymietown” in the 1984 Democratic presidential primaries and went from a legitimate candidate to out of it overnight as a result, John McCain lost a lot of Asian support in the 2008 election due to using the word “gook”, even after he apologized. And this, well, it’s confounding that he wants to drag this out.
“A recall campaign is going to drag on well into next year, and it being constantly in the news will ensure no one forgets it. With a recall election, it just means that he’ll be remembered for this more now for the rest of his life. Being known as a strong supporter for immigrants and helping the homeless like he has building up for years? Gone. A chance to have parks and other things named for him? Gone. He’s just hurting constituents by staying in office, and we’re seeing this recall as a result now.”
A recall attempt cannot be made against Cedillo, who will be out of office at the end of the year due to term limits. Signature gathering may start late this year or early next year depending on when the notice is acknowledged.
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One thought on “Recall Effort Against LA Councilman Kevin De Leon Filed With City Clerk

  1. Won’t pass. It’s probably going to be close though. His district is heavily Latino. There’s parts of his district, Eagle Rock and Downtown where the demographics are different but while a majority may disapprove of Leon, it’s not gonna be a top priority issue. Inflation and gas are more pressing than this. Leon has nothing to lose by refusing to resign, because Kevin was upset from losing the Senate seat to Feinstein and is now stuck as a low councilman position. Add that a segment of the Latino community is secretly anti-Black or antipathetic, Leon doesn’t have a strong discentive to resign.

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