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LA City Council sees quieter protests against Kevin de León

Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevi de Leon (center) at Tuesday’c councol meeting, Photo: Linh Tat, SCNG

Public attendees exchange words with City of Los Angeles councilmembers during a city council meeting at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

Los Angeles city council meeting is being held at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

City of Los Angeles District 1 councilmember Eunisses Hernandez listens to a public comment during a city council meeting at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

City of Los Angeles District 14 councilmember Kevin de Leon’s seat is vacated during a city council meeting at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

City of Los Angeles District 5 councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky listens to a public comment during a city council meeting at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

City of Los Angeles District 2 councilmember Paul Krekorian listens to a public comment during a city council meeting at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

City of Los Angeles District 10 councilmember Heather Hutt listens to a public comment during a city council meeting at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

City of Los Angeles District 9 councilmember Curren Price Jr. listens to a public comment during a city council meeting at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

City of Los Angeles District 3 councilmember Bob Blumenfield listens to a public comment during a city council meeting at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

City of Los Angeles District 15 councilmember Tim McOsker listens to a public comment during a city council meeting at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

City of Los Angeles District 13 councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez listens to a public comment during a city council meeting at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

City of Los Angeles District 7 councilmember Monica Rodriguez listens to a public comment during a city council meeting at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

City of Los Angeles District 5 councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky, right, talks to District 13 councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez during a city council meeting at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

City of Los Angeles District 7 councilmember Monica Rodriguez, right, talks to District 4 councilmember Nithya Raman during a city council meeting at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

City of Los Angeles District 4 councilmember Nithya Raman listens to a public comment during a city council meeting at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

City of Los Angeles District 11 councilmember Traci Park listens to a public comment during a city council meeting at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter-LA, berates Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de Leon (in background). De Leon did npot ackknowledge the criticism. Photo: Linh Tat, SCNG

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Embattled Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de León walked into the Council Chamber about 35 minutes into the Tuesday, Jan. 10, meeting and remained standing in the room for about an hour before protesters – who were already aware of his presence – began chanting and calling for him to leave.

While several protesters were evicted for disrupting the meeting, the disruptions were markedly fewer and more brief than during past meetings, including the Dec. 13 council meeting when the chamber erupted in pandemonium.

Some councilmembers who walked out when de León showed up at past meetings remained in their seats on Tuesday – though newly elected councilmembers Eunisses Hernandez and Hugo Soto-Martinez later spoke from the floor, making clear they disapprove of his presence on the city council.

In scathing remarks that she read as de León stood behind her, Hernandez chastised the councilmember.

“How dare you continue to show up to these chambers and make yet another day that should be focused on life-saving tenant protections about yourself? You have had the opportunity to resign this post and allow your constituents to move on from this disgraceful period. … We are left to assume that your only motivation is personal gain and ego,” she said.

“I am not OK with your presence on the floor today,” she later added.

De León later left the chamber before the meeting adjourned.

Before he appeared in the chamber Tuesday, de León had made his presence known, participating in a couple of routine votes at the start of the meeting by casting his vote from a backroom, out of sight of the public, which allows city council members to vote and be counted as present. A few members of the public cried out in objection to seeing de León’s name listed as “present.”

The outbursts by protesters at council meetings have become par for the course since October, after a secret recording was leaked of a conversation during the fall of 2021 in which de León, and two other council members – neither of whom are still on the city council – and a labor leader privately discussed how the four of them might manipulate the city’s redistricting process to benefit Latino voters.

During that conversation, racist and derogatory comments were made about Blacks, gays and other groups – mostly by then-Council President Nury Martinez, who resigned days after the audio leak.

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Despite repeated calls by his critics, fellow council members, and even President Joe Biden to resign, de León – whose storied political career includes being named the first Latino President pro Tempore in the California state Senate – thus has refused to leave office.

He resurfaced at council meetings in December, following a two-month absence due to rowdy protesters who have shown up to every meeting since October to demand his resignation.

An effort has been launched to recall de Leon. In order for the question to appear on the ballot, asking voters whether or not they want to recall him, organizers must gather more than 20,400 valid voters’ signatures by March 31.

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