Kevin de León says he will not step down from LA City Council following the release of racist audio from him and his colleagues there. “I will not resign because there is a lot of work ahead. There is a lot of work that we have to face in the district: the infections, the unemployment, the threat of eviction, the humanitarian crisis of the poor," he said in an interview with León Krauze, national news anchor for Univision.
“He told me that he failed when he had an opportunity to speak up against Nury Martinez and her despicable racist comments during that meeting,” Krauze tells KCRW. “He told me that he never intended that bad joke — that's how he described it — to be directed to [Mike] Bonin's son at all. He said that the bad joke was in reference to Nury Martinez’s habit of using high-end handbags and accessories.”
Within the last two weeks, de León’s been stripped of his LA City Council committee assignments and has lost the support of his fellow council members.
Krauze says de León believes he’ll regain the trust of at least his constituents by mending his relationship with them directly.
“There are people who certainly support de León, who are hurt by his comments, the Oaxacan community specifically. And you can also find people who want him to resign. … What I gathered from the interview yesterday is that he can convince through, I imagine, hard work and presenting his case [to] a majority of his constituents that he deserves to keep doing what he's been doing.”
Krauze adds that the leaked audio is the biggest story of the last decade because it reveals deep wounds within the community and how politics work. That’s due in part to why the story was covered by the national news desk at Univision.
“The fight for political control in the country's second-largest city should be a story. [The] history of racial tensions and racial injustice in Los Angeles is long and profound and deeply painful. And there were communities that were very specifically impacted by these horrific comments. I’m thinking of the Oaxacan community that I know so very well. I worked within it. I know it deeply, intimately,” Krauze says. “To hear them described that way by Nury Martinez made my blood boil, to be very, very honest. So when you put those two together, how could this not be a story?”