Newsletter: How many times must Kevin de León be told to resign?

Then-Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León sits with his hands pressed together in front of his mouth.
Then-Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León in Sacramento in 2017.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Good morning. I’m Paul Thornton, and it is Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022. Let’s look back at the week in Opinion.

I’ve been working in The Times’ Opinion section since George W. Bush’s second term as president, so I can say with confidence that no politicians have elicited more calls by our editorial board to resign in one month than L.A. City Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León. Ex-City Council President Nury Martinez resigned in disgrace two days after the board initially said she along with De León and Cedillo should leave City Hall after their voices were heard on that recording of a shockingly racist year-old conversation. Martinez announced her departure with a remarkably tone-deaf letter that contained only one apology — to her staff — and displayed infinitely more self-grandiosity than reflection, but at least it was a resignation.

De León wrote a letter too, yet there he remains, on the City Council. His missive to newly installed Council President Paul Krekorian asks for forgiveness and promises self-reflection and better behavior in the future, but its primary purpose is to explain why his district needs him right now, even as he asks to be excused from upcoming meetings. In other words, he’s here to help, but he isn’t available now. There’s an easier path for him and his district to take: Resign, now.


And he and Cedillo have been told to get on with it already — not once, not twice, but three times by our editorial board since Martinez decided last week to stop holding out. The editorial board’s last rebuke, published after De León made clear he wouldn’t be leaving, was particularly stinging and dismissive:

“In his letter to Krekorian, De León asked to be excused from council meetings in the coming weeks so he could ‘rebuild relationships’ and take ‘professional sensitivity training.’ Krekorian repeated his call for De León to step down, saying that was the only way for the city to begin to heal. Indeed, it’s hard to see how Angelenos can have trust in an elected official who lets loose behind closed doors, comparing his colleague’s Black son to a prop carried like a Louis Vuitton handbag, likening Black political power to the Wizard of Oz and making demeaning remarks about activists and constituents.

“De León might think his statements Wednesday can buy him time to rally his remaining supporters, with the hope that the outcry will die down quickly. It won’t. De León’s denial means this ugly episode in Los Angeles will only go on longer.”

As for Cedillo, he’ll be off the City Council anyway in mid-December. He lost his bid for reelection in June to Eunisses Hernandez, who will be sworn in Dec. 11. Still, his and De Leon’s stubborn grip on their seats is mortally wounding city government, so I’ll close with the editorial board’s sound advice, given in an Oct. 12 piece: “It’s time for them to stop stalling. There is no path forward.”

If Los Angeles’ elected leadership weren’t paralyzed right now, I’d lead off with what I think are the most troubling national political developments since ex-President Trump sicced his violent mob on the U.S. Capitol: The explicit antisemitism on display in Trump’s recent statement suggesting that Americans who are Jewish lack sufficient loyalty to him and should “get their act together” before “it is too late!”; and the videos showing police officers in Florida arresting stunned Black civilians in their own driveways, supposedly for committing voter fraud. I think back to our project in January in which we asked readers who survived the Holocaust what they think of the political situation in this country, and I am drawn to this chilling statement by Josie Martin, who was hidden as a child in France during the Nazi occupation: “For a time I wanted to believe that the Nazi era was a ‘never-again’ episode orchestrated by some twisted fascist monsters. I wanted to believe that America had saved Europe from the worst evil in modern times. Alas, ‘never again’ is now.” L.A. Times

Stephen K. Bannon discovers the hard way that defying Congress is no joke. The Justice Department recommended that Trump’s former strategist and political chaos agent be sentenced to six months in prison and forced to pay a fine of $200,000 after he was found guilty of criminal contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee. This plus the $1-billion civil verdict against Alex Jones is “almost enough to restore your faith in America,” writes Robin Abcarian. L.A. Times


Are Californians fleeing en masse to Texas? The reality is complicated. Of course there are a lot of ex-Californians in Texas — because there are a lot of Californians, period. There are also plenty of former Texans living in California, precisely for the same reason — Texas has a lot of people too. Richard Parker, an author from Texas, writes: “Indeed, if Texas expats who arrived in California since 2000 had their own city it would be close to the size of San Jose — about a million people. But the Texodus to California bears a sharp distinction: While Californians headed east are drawn in by the promise of affordable suburban tract homes, many of the Texans bound in the other direction are recent college graduates seeking a fresh start to their young careers and lives. California continually attracts talents — and drains brains — from Texas.” L.A. Times

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Ballots have been sent out in L.A. County. Here is the complete list of editorial board endorsements for the Nov. 8 vote. You can also find this list at
Proposition 1: Yes
Propositions 26 and 27: No
Proposition 28: Yes
Proposition 29: No
Proposition 30: No
Proposition 31: Yes
L.A. mayor: Karen Bass
L.A. city attorney: Hydee Feldstein Soto
L.A. city controller: Kenneth Mejia
L.A. City Council District 5: Katy Young Yaroslavsky
L.A. City Council District 11: Erin Darling
L.A. City Council District 13: Hugo Soto-Martínez
L.A. City Council District 15: Tim McOsker
Proposition LH (city of Los Angeles): Yes
Proposition SP (city of Los Angeles): No
Proposition ULA (city of Los Angeles): Yes
Los Angeles County sheriff: Robert Luna
L.A. County Measure A: Yes
L.A. County Measure C: Yes
L.A. County Board of Supervisors, District 3: Lindsey Horvath
L.A. Community College District Board of Trustees, Seat 2: Steven Veres
L.A. Community College District Board of Trustees, Seat 4: Sara Hernandez
L.A. Community College District Board of Trustees, Seat 6: Gabriel Buelna
L.A. Community College District Board of Trustees, Seat 7: Kelsey Iino
L.A. Community College District Measure LA: Yes
LAUSD Board District 2: María Brenes
LAUSD Board District 6: Kelly Gonez
L.A. Superior Court Office No. 60: Abby Baron
L.A. Superior Court Office No. 67: Fernanda Maria Barreto
L.A. Superior Court Office No. 70: Holly Hancock
L.A. Superior Court Office No. 90: Melissa Lyons
L.A. Superior Court Office No. 118: Melissa Hammond
L.A. Superior Court Office No. 151: Patrick Hare
California Supreme Court chief justice: Yes on Patricia Guerrero
California Supreme Court associate justices: Yes on retaining Goodwin Liu, Joshua P. Groban and Martin J. Jenkins
2nd District Court of Appeals: Yes on retaining all justices
Lieutenant governor: Eleni Kounalakis
Secretary of state: Shirley Weber
State attorney general: Rob Bonta
State controller: Lanhee Chen
State treasurer: Fiona Ma
State insurance commissioner: Ricardo Lara
State superintendent of public instruction: Tony Thurmond
State Senate District 20: Caroline Menjivar
State Senate District 28: Lola Smallwood-Cuevas
State Assembly District 39: Juan Carrillo
State Assembly District 40: Pilar Schiavo
State Assembly District 51: Rick Chavez Zbur
State Assembly District 61: Tina McKinnor
State Assembly District 69: Josh Lowenthal
U.S. Senate: Alex Padilla
U.S. Congressional District 27: Christy Smith
U.S. Congressional District 37: Sydney Kamlager
U.S. Congressional District 40: Asif Mahmood
U.S. Congressional District 41: Will Rollins
U.S. Congressional District 42: Robert Garcia
U.S. Congressional District 45: Jay Chen
U.S. Congressional District 47: Katie Porter
U.S. Congressional District 49: Mike Levin

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