Kevin De León will not be excused from City Council meetings despite request

Embattled City Councilman Kevin de León will not be excused from council meetings as he continues to defy widespread calls to resign over his involvement in the City Hall racism scandal, Council President Paul Krekorian wrote in a letter to de León Monday.

Krekorian responded to a letter that de León sent last week seeking to be excused from meetings "in the coming weeks" so he can focus on the healing process and take professional sensitivity training.

The newly installed council president made it clear that he does not want de León to return to the council under any circumstances, claiming that de León would cause "more harm and disruption."

"There is no path forward that includes your continued participation in this council," Krekorian said.

The council's next meeting is on Tuesday.

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De León has conducted numerous television interviews over the last few days stating that he will not resign amid calls for his resignation ranging from President Joe Biden to nearly all of his council colleagues.

The councilman said the city needs to heal, and that he "wants to be part of that."

Neither de León nor Gil Cedillo, the other council member facing calls to step down for taking part in the leaked Oct. 2021 recording, has attended a meeting since Oct. 11, when they were forced to leave after protesters shouted at them.

A spokesman for Cedillo has repeatedly said that the councilman is "at a place of reflection," though Cedillo only has a few weeks left on the council after he lost his re-election bid.

A spokesman for Krekorian did not immediately respond Monday when asked if Krekorian has excused Cedillo from attending meetings.

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Krekorian said that there is "no realistic possibility" for de León to effectively legislate. He pledged that the council would schedule a special election as soon as de León resigns. De León has claimed in interviews that one of the reasons he is not resigning is that his district would lose representation.

"I will ensure that a caretaker provides essential constituent services to the people of the 14th District," Krekorian said.

The council cannot remove de León; he would have to resign or be recalled by residents of his district.

Under the City Charter, a seat would be considered vacant if a council member is absent from the city "without consent of the Council for more than 60 consecutive days" or has "ceased to discharge the duties of the office for 90 consecutive days."

But City Clerk Holly Wolcott told the Los Angeles Times last week that the rule would likely not be triggered in this case even if de León is not attending meetings.

"I think it is reasonable to assume that as long as a council member is fulfilling most aspects of their duty of office such as constituent services, they are considered at work regardless of whether they attend council meetings," Wolcott said to the Times.