When The Times recently polled voters in Kevin de León’s council district, the survey asked respondents to tell us, in their own words, what they have recently heard or read about their council member.
A few responses were positive. The vast majority, however, reflect the disaffection many in the district feel toward De León. The poll found that by more than 2 to 1, voters with unfavorable views of De León outnumber those who view him favorably.
Overall, about six in 10 voters told us they had seen, read or heard something recently that had an impact on how they think about De León. About three quarters of those said that what they had learned had made them less favorable to the council member.
When asked to specify what they had heard, many of the voters offered just brief responses: “Racist comments” came up often — a reference to remarks that surfaced in October on a recording of a private meeting involving De León and two other council members, former council President Nury Martinez and former Councilmember Gil Cedillo. So did “refuses to resign,” reflecting the controversy in the district over demands that De León step down.
Other voters, however, offered longer comments, which offer a more detailed view of their thoughts. Some mentioned the protests over De León’s refusal to step down. Others remembered a recent incident in which De León and a protester were involved in a shoving match at a toy giveaway.
One remark that De León made in the recorded meeting appears to have made an especially strong impression on voters — his remark that then-Councilmember Mike Bonin used his Black son as a prop like a designer handbag, a comment that an anguished Bonin denounced in a speech after the recording surfaced.
Here’s what we asked: “What specifically do you recall seeing, reading, or hearing recently about Kevin de León?”
And here is a selection of the responses, in the voters’ own words. To preserve the anonymity of the poll, respondents are identified only by gender, ethnicity and an age range.
White male, 65+
Heard about the protest at his home, over the top, don’t agree with it. He has done good things in the past — state government. The only thing he did wrong was stand up defensively — favorable with gay rights, has done good things.
Latino man, 65+
When he got attacked and [I] heard he got accused of things I didn’t believe in
Latino woman, 50-65
His comments … he messed up
Latino man, 18-34
He compared a Black child to a handbag and showed no leadership when people around him were being racist. He also refuses to step down from his position.
Asian American woman, 18-34
He made anti-Black racist remarks in a private meeting with Nury Martinez and other City Council members.
Latino man, 50-65
I guess what I’ve heard lately, but there was some pushing and shoving kind of match. … I know he’s really trying to mend fences, refusing to resign. That’s pretty much what I know.
White man, 18-34
The transcript of his racist comments and efforts to gerrymander his district, and his later lies about his conduct, downplaying of his role, and refusal to resign or face consequences for his actions.
Asian American woman, 50-65
Typical career politician jumping from one position to the next due to term limits; going as far as establishing residence in an area in order to be a representative.
He compared a young child to a hand bag
— Asian woman, 35-49
Latino man, 50-65
Racist remarks and redistricting to benefit himself and others in elections.
White woman, 50-65
He refuses to resign. He continues to collect a paycheck but isn’t able to do anything for his district due to his current circumstances.
White woman, 18-34
There was that labor meeting in which he was recorded saying very divisive things about the population of L.A. Anti-Black sentiment. He didn’t challenge Nury Martinez. Other things that clearly show that he’s not supportive of other racial backgrounds besides Latinos.
Latino man, 50-65
His reaction towards the audio tapes that were discovered, and I feel he is not really adequately responding to….
White man, 65+
He doesn’t understand the quality of his racist remarks. He’s full of himself.
White woman, 35-49
He was involved in racist comments and has not resigned and taken responsibility.
Asian female, 35-49
He compared a young child to a hand bag, child was Black, racist remarks.
What do you think about Kevin de León’s service on the City Council? Leave a response in the comments section.