LA City Clerk approves recall petition for Councilman Kevin de León

A recall petition against embattled City Councilman Kevin de León was approved by the Los Angeles City Clerk Tuesday, allowing organizers to begin collecting signatures.

Organizers must collect 20,437 signatures from registered voters of the 14th District by March 31, according to the city clerk's office.

An intent to recall de León was filed in October by five residents of the 14th District, including Pauline Adkins, who led two prior unsuccessful recall attempts of de León.

De León, along with Councilman Gil Cedillo, has defied fierce and widespread calls to resign for taking part in a recorded 2021 conversation that involved racist comments and attempts to manipulate the redistricting process.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Kevin de León refuses to resign from LA City Council

Under the statement of reasons in the notice of intent, the organizers cited de León's refusal to resign over the scandal.

"Even though the City Council has called for his resignation, and have stripped him of his committee assignments, Kevin de León has refused to resign," the statement reads. "He currently cannot represent the stakeholders of Council District 14."

Pete Brown, de León's communications director, said in a statement in October that the recall effort distorts de León's record and "will not distract the council member or his office from continuing to serve the people of Council District 14. He will keep moving forward important projects and issues that threaten the communities and the lives of his constituents."

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De León responded to the City Clerk's decision, urging voters not to sign what he called a "misleading recall petitionby a handful of 5 individuals, most of them political extremists."

"Recently, an illegal recording was leaked, the Councilmember admitted he failed to stop that conversation and committed to healing the hurt caused. His legislative record as a State Senator and Councilmember proves that he has always respected and fought for people of all backgrounds," a statement from his office read.

The statement went on to call a potential recall election "a costly burden to taxpayers," adding that "In two years, voters can decide if Councilmember de León should remain their representative."

 De León's term runs until December 2024. He has not attended a council meeting since Oct. 11.

Cedillo cannot be recalled because there is not enough time before his term expires next week. He lost his reelection bid in the June primary.

Adkins, in an interview with CNS in October, claimed the amount of support she is receiving for her third recall bid is "night and day" compared to her previous two attempts given the uproar over the racism scandal. Adkins said she is "one thousand percent confident" that she will be able to gather the signatures

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"That's the vibe we're getting is that there's going to be a lot of constituents," Adkins said. "They're very, very upset. I'm just overwhelmed by the participation of CD 14 in this early stages of the recall."

Joshua Spivak, a recall expert and senior research fellow at UC Berkeley Law School's California Constitution Center, told CNS previously that "the number one, and really the only thing, is getting those signatures."

"That's the key. If you get enough signatures, if you get to the ballot, there's a very good chance of success," Spivak said.