Column: Is L.A. Councilmember Kevin de León a political dead man walking? (Los Angeles Times)
A week after Kevin de Leon, Los Angeles’ first Latino elected official, was first elected to the City Council in a special election in May 2018, two of his allies have taken steps to remove him from the council and force him to relinquish his seat. It’s not just that de Leon’s support for a measure that would require developers to give workers raises, on which he was a co-author, had put him in an unfavorable light among many of his constituents. Instead, the councilmembers have made up their minds to oust him for what they see as a breach of ethics. “He’s not worthy of the office you created for him. He’s not worthy,” said Paul Koretz, the councilmember who represents the west side.
The most recent action, spearheaded by Koretz and another council member, was Friday afternoon, when de Leon’s chief of staff, Alex Garcia, published a statement on his Facebook page saying that the council should remove de Leon “for continuing to do what he was legally obligated to do and, in fact, has done. He simply does not respect the office or the laws of the city.” In the statement, Garcia also said that another councilmember, Paul Krekorian, had “requested that Mr. De León step down from the City Council.”
If you asked me a few months ago to guess the primary reason the de Leon story is now a news story, I would have predicted that it was the ethics question that seemed to be foremost in every story about the councilmember. After all, ethics is the reason I was writing about De Leon: he was running unopposed in the May 2018 special election against a City Council candidate who was also unopposed in the May 2018 election but who in that race did not support De Leon’s agenda.
But ethics is only part of what is going on. The larger story here