Tue, Dec

Kevin De Leon’s Campaign for Mayor, So Far, So So


EASTSIDER - Still running for Mayor, Kevin De Leon is tripling down on using the homeless as centerpiece to his campaign.

Of course there was  one teeny weenie little detail missing from all the press coverage about how wonderful the Tiny Homes  project is. 

Read on for the details. 

Tiny Homes

Recently, he used the Tiny Home Village in Highland Park opening as his backdrop, along with political pal Miguel Santiago (AD 53).  Santiago’s Assembly District includes the downtown area.  As ABC put it. 

“HIGHLAND PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- To raise awareness of efforts to combat homelessness, a California state assemblyman and Los Angeles city councilman slept overnight Wednesday at the Arroyo Seco Tiny Home Village in Highland Park, the largest facility of its kind in the U.S.

The Tiny Home Village sits on nearly 7 acres and includes 117 units.

Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León and Assemblyman Miguel Santiago spent the night at the location, ahead of its official opening as a transitional-housing site.

De León and Santiago had dinner at the facility and showered there, hoping to understand what it will be like for people who will begin moving into the homes in two weeks.

De León, who is running for mayor of Los Angeles, described the small quarters as comfortable

This should come as no surprise.  Back in May, he teamed up with Miguel Santiago (AD53) to make a $20 billion dollar pitch to the legislature to fund their plan to help the homeless (and no doubt fuel their campaigns :-). 

“Thursday, May 6th – 8:00 p.m., starting @ LA CAN, Skid Row, DTLA

California Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Assm. District 53, Los Angeles) on Thursday will be joining Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de León (D, District 14), and community partners for a candlelight march and rally calling on the State Legislature and the Governor to invest $20 billion over the next 5 years into homelessness. The candlelight march will start at the headquarters of the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN) after a rally and speaking program there. The march will go down San Julian St. and end at the Downtown Women’s Center.” 

Here’s the dirty little secret that De Leon did not share with the troops.   Even though there were no homeless (or anyone) as yet living in the Village, a reliable source told me that Kevin was so afraid of staying there overnight that the LAPD had to assign two police officers to stay with him and Santiago. You know, so that the two politicians could feel “safe”.  Really. 

Ruby de Vera Square

This one’s a bit personal to me, my wife Paula and yours truly being long time friends with Ruby, Andy and Theresa. 

Ruby de Vera, a serious community figure in both Glassell Park and Eagle Rock for years and years, recently died from COVID-19 complications.  Around this time frame, promises were made about dedicating a small park in her name, ultimately named Ruby de Vera Square.

Living up to the pledge, as well as broadening his outreach to the PhilAm  community, Kevin De Leon held a ceremony opening the Ruby de Vera Sqiare last week.  Good. 

The problem was that the time was changed to 8:15 in the morning, presumably because of other scheduling commitments, and there was virtually no real outreach to the local community to generate a large audience. 

Further, for some reason, no chairs were provided for the event, which meant that the 30 or so people had to stand up for the entire event.  Her husband Andy is in his mid-80’s, and a number of her other friends are elderly too, so it is hard to fathom how such basic items as chairs were not in evidence. 

Further, I never heard about the event until after it had already taken place, and I’m guessing that this was true for a large number of other people who would have attended. 

My takeaway is that this was a pro forma event that got a time reset because of other, evidently more important, engagements for the Mayoral candidate later the same day. 

Where Exactly Does De Leon Reside?

As far back as 2020, Kevin De Leon has been very hard to pin down as to his residency. As our own Caroline Aguirre noted. 

“Initially, de León contacted members of various community groups within CD14. He told them he was residing on the 5400 block of Rangeview Avenue, located in Eagle Rock. The 5400 block of Rangeview is located in Highland Park. Now he claims to be residing (rents a room) at another location in the 4900 block of Rangeview Avenue. This location is also located in Highland Park. He does not place his head down at this location every night. He comes and goes. 

This residence, located in CD14, is owned by his former staffer Adrian Vazquez and his mother.

During the time period that de León was a state senator, he rented a room from a family in the Mt. Washington area. I might add, this is perfectly legal. But one can ask why De León never invested in a home of his own in the areas he represented. How can he now address the issues of homelessness, increased rents, increased housing costs, lack of housing, increased property taxes and increased costs of home repairs in our CD14 area? How can he honestly relate to these issues? ”  

Now, it seem like he may live in Eagle Rock.  According to my sources, there was a recent purchase of a property around Laroda north of the High School.  My sources tell me that the house was bought by a flipper over a year ago, but he ran into a problem.  Like there were no permits issued, 

So the house went off the market for about a year while new permits were magically approved, and while the home was still off the market it appears that Kevin de Leon bought it well under market prices. 

As of this writing, it is not certain that he actually lives there.  Perhaps someone will find out and let me know.  My email address is [email protected]

The Takeaway

For a serious candidate to be the next Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, it seems pretty curious to have all of these recent unforced errors.  The logical assumption is that either his staff is not up to the job, or the candidate himself lacks the discipline to perform the necessary tasks to become Mayor. 

Let’s see what the future holds. 

PS - Alice Roth still hasn’t responded to my inquiry regarding Ruby de Vera 

(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.)