This statement in support of the chapter vote to pursue a coalition strategy to recall Kevin de León was approved unanimously by the DSA-LA Electoral Committee. Chapter members in good standing may submit their own statements regarding the question here.
The 2022 City Council October Surprise was easily the most profound shakeup to city politics in decades. Three sitting LA City Councilmembers were recorded making racist and anti-Black statements while openly discussing how to weaken renters’ political power and set Latino and Black workers against each other. After widespread condemnation, Nury Martinez has resigned, and Gil Cedillo will be replaced by DSA-LA member Eunisses Hernandez in weeks. Councilmember Kevin de León, however, has announced that he will not voluntarily resign, and will only be removed from office via an election. Councilmember de León represents Council District 14 (CD-14), which covers Boyle Heights, Downtown LA, El Sereno, Eagle Rock, and portions of Highland Park and Lincoln Heights. Now that the 2022 election cycle is over, we must respond to this moment, advance our pro-worker, pro-renter, politics and build off of our recent electoral successes.
DSA-LA can and must lead the fight to remove de León, whether in 2023 or 2024. After winning two seats in 2022, we will have fewer opportunities for growth in the City Council in 2024, when the even-numbered districts will be up for election. Of these we have our strongest membership bases in CD-4, represented by Nithya Raman, and in CD-14. Setting ourselves up in CD-14 will be critical to growing the socialist caucus. y
DSA-LA’s best opportunity to prepare for victory in CD-14 is to support a coalition to recall de León:
- A credible recall threat is a big motivation to resign.
- A successful recall will require nearly 30,000 signatures, which could lead to an election in late 2023.
- There are a significant number of labor- and organizing-based community organizations in CD14 that have expressed their dissatisfaction with de León who may join a credible recall campaign.
- Critically, it allows our organization to grow in CD-14, by identifying new supporters of our agenda and folding in new members in CD-14 that see the effectiveness and popularity of our program.
- A strong recall coalition will also be a potent ground for identifying a candidate to replace de León, and to forge a strong pro-working-class platform that that candidate would run on.
- If we can’t bring together the necessary forces to beat de León, we can wait until 2024. But we can’t not try.
DSA-LA members and progressives should be skeptical of the recall effort announced in late October. The same proponents have launched three previous recall efforts against de León with conservative messaging over the past few years, citing their opposition to the “tiny homes village” placed in Eagle Rock and its supposed risk to nearby homeowners and property values. By our estimation they would need to collect the nearly 30,000 signatures by mid-March 2023, a daunting task to carry out through the holiday months. A successful recall will require a broad coalition of organizers in CD-14, and is unlikely to succeed on its current path.
DSA-LA’s Electoral Politics Committee recommends that members vote yes to authorize our chapter to engage in a coalition strategy to build the coalition necessary to recall Kevin De Leon. It is true that recalling sitting Councilmembers is difficult, but up until 2020 unseating incumbents in an election was considered to be next to impossible – now DSA-LA has been critical to three successful efforts to do so. We must do what we can to push out anti-renter, anti-Black councilmembers, and create opportunities for socialists to replace them, all while building up our organization. Recalling de León is that next step.