Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de Leon has been jockeying to rehabilitate his image despite being memorialized on a racist tape recording and then being filmed attacking an activist at a weekend holiday party.
De Leon has received calls to resign from President Joe Biden all the way down to black community leaders and City Council President Paul Krekorian for his role in a racist conversation, but he has refused.
His city website homepage hints that de Leon intends to stay put, with the message “Moving Our Communities Forward into a Healthier and Safer Future” emblazoned across the top of the site. The message links to a biography showcasing de Leon’s accomplishments and a timeline of recent events.
The last event was a Thanksgiving turkey giveaway. His “News” webpage, normally filled with several events per month touting city issues, has been silent since Oct. 6, which is around the time the racist recording of de Leon and other city politicians went viral in news reports.
His Twitter feed also stopped posting updates, with the exception of a statement on the brawl. De Leon claimed he was the victim, with activist Jason Reedy launching a “pelvic thrust, followed by a headbutt to my forehead.” Activists had been harassing de Leon and his staff for more than a year, and he was attempting to draw them outdoors when he was attacked, he said.
De Leon is trying to salvage his career by continuing to attend community events and meetings on behalf of the city, according to the Associated Press. He has continued to work on projects such as housing for homeless people and illegal trash-dumping problems.
But it appears he won’t have a voice on the City Council as three members have refused to sit on the dais if he is there, creating the lack of a quorum. Last week, the meeting devolved into chaos as protesters called for de Leon’s ouster while other council members left the room. De Leon was gone after a short recess, and the meeting resumed.
De Leon has been a politician since 2006, jumping from the state Assembly to the state Senate before landing at the Los Angeles City Council in 2020.
During the taped conversation, de Leon and two other members bemoaned the fact that black communities appeared to be gaining power after the recent census, and they discussed how to circumvent this to benefit the council’s Hispanic leaders.
They made disparaging remarks about white and Asian people, as well, after discussing how to steal Los Angeles International Airport from the district of white Councilman Mike Bonin, whose black son was the focus of the attacks.