Tue, May

Recalling Kevin De Leon - Turns Out There’s A Nasty Surprise In The Fine Print

THE EASTSIDER - I was all excited at the prospect of recalling Kevin De Leon in CD 14 ASAP, until Hans Johnson of the EAPD (East Area Progressive Democrats) clued me in to a requirement I never heard of. In the fine print of course. 

Logic says that if enough people sign a recall petition against a City Councilmember and that Councilmember gets booted out, you would then proceed to run an election to replace the loser.  Right?  Oh no, in the great and corporate Dem run State of California, it’s not so fast. 

The Statutes

There are two Statutes which basically say the same thing.  

First, there’s a hidden gotcha in the State Statute governing Recalls.  You can find it here. 

“If the majority vote on the question is to recall, the officer is removed and, if there is a candidate, the candidate who receives a plurality is the successor. The officer may not be a candidate, nor shall there be any candidacy for an office filled pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 16 of Article VI of the California Constitution.

(Cal. Const., Art. II, Sec. 15) 

If one-half or more of the votes at a recall election are “No,” the officer sought to be recalled shall continue in  office.                                         

(Elections Code § 11383) 

Except as provided in Elections Code section 11382, if a majority of the votes on a recall proposal are “Yes”, the officer sought to be recalled shall be removed from office upon the qualification of the officer’s successor.                     

(Elections Code §11384) 

Second, there is an LA City Charter provision as well, and it basically mirrors State law. 

“H. City Council Action if Recall Petition is Certified "Sufficient" 

Within 20 days after the certificate is presented to the City Council, the City Council must call for the holding of a special election, and if necessary a special runoff election, for the purpose of submitting to the voters of the City at large, of the Council District, or of the Board District, as the case may be, the question of whether the officer shall be recalled, and if recalled, for the election of his or her successor.  [Charter § 432].” 

Here’s How Insiders Benefit from a Recall Election

Exactly how someone gets on the ballot for this singular dump & replace election process is buried  (I mean really buried)  over in the Revised LA City Election Code, which you can find here. 

Within this Code, assuming you even find it, the recall process starts at page 118 of the  121 page document.  And it is quite detailed.  

For example, it talks about what a Recall Election candidate has to do, like filing a declaration of intent, statement of economic interest, and Statements of City Related Business. 

It is very detailed, which means that normal people participating in the election and wanting to replace De Leon would be disqualified before they really started.  Who can navigate this puzzle palace?  Rich insiders, that’s who.  Or ordinary people bankrolled by the same folks who own Kevin. 

I submit that regular Angelenos simply don’t stand a chance in hell of getting elected under such a process. Those who would actually benefit from this Byzantine candidate election tied to the recall vote are -- professional campaign consultants, and current elected officials with deep pockets of cash courtesy of their already being in office, able to suck in all that lobbyist money that pollutes our so-called election system. 

For example, take someone like Kevin’s buddy Miguel Santiago (D 53rd Assembly District).  They were plotting back and forth when Kevin was running for CD 14, and they were even Tiny Homes roommates for an overnight stay at a new one in Highland Park. 

As I wrote in 2021, 

“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.”

The Takeaway

We don’t need any more professional politicians taking a low turnout election as a cheap  steppingstone.  So I’m forced to the conclusion that you and I are better off waiting for the 2024 election cycle. 

From my admittedly biased view, Kevin hasn’t done much to actually help constituents in CD14 anyhow, so who cares what he does between now and 2024.  After Jose Huizar and Kevin, it’s pretty hard to envision a decent Councilmember for CD 14. 

If there’s a chance of breaking the prearranged corporate Democratic determination of who we will be allowed to vote for, it won’t really happen until 2024.  We need time to find a field of candidates  who are not locked into  party greed and vote trading. 

With a June 2024 Primary and November 2024 election, there is time to find and organize around decent candidates, whatever their ethnicity, notwithstanding the recording  that led to Kevin being asked to resign by the City Council. 

Remember, in the world of politics, 2023 is the year that all the work starts on the ground, sorting out who will be the 2024 candidates.  We need the time while Kevin De Leon runs around playing with himself. 

Anyhow, just my take.


(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.)