West News Wire: Los Angeles City Council member Kevin De León made his first public remarks following the online publication of a recording of council members uttering racist and insulting remarks. He apologized to his constituents for not speaking up and ending the conversation.
De León apologized to the city of Los Angeles, saying, “I’m extremely sorry for not standing up and being the leader that they expect me to be.” “I apologize to my supporters. I apologize to my coworkers. I apologize to my family, Mike Bonin’s family, and everyone else who has helped me.”
The city council has been the subject of public outcry and protests after a recording posted to Reddit earlier this month captured former City Council President Nury Martinez making allegedly racist and offensive comments about her colleagues and about a council member’s son while discussing redistricting. The Los Angeles Times reviewed the recording and confirmed it as authentic.
The recording has prompted the California Department of Justice to open an investigation into the city’s redistricting process in an effort to restore public trust.
Martinez resigned from her leadership position and from the council last week, under pressure from protesters and officials.
While the alleged comments were not made by De León, there has been public outcry from protesters and fellow council members, calling on him and council member Gil Cedillo, who was also on the recording, to resign from the council. Calls for their resignations have gone as high up as President Joe Biden.
During the interview, De León apologized several times, but remained adamant that his district deserves representation, saying he plans to continue to do so.
“I have to do the really damn hard work to repair and to restore the breach of trust that I have lost with so many folks,” De León said.
De León said the meeting captured on the recording was called by Martinez and that he had attended it to be a voice for his district.
In statements released on Monday and Tuesday, Martinez apologized to her colleagues, Bonin and his family.
In the Wednesday interview, De León said he called Bonin to apologize, but it went to voicemail.
The LA Council resumed its meetings Wednesday, closing the chambers to members of the public after protesters caused delays and prevented a meeting from starting last week.
The council also named a new president on Tuesday.