Wave Wire Services
LOS ANGELES — City Councilman-elect Kevin de Leon was appointed Oct. 13 by the Los Angeles City Council to the vacant seat in District 14 to replace suspended Councilman Jose Huizar.
De Leon, the former head of the state Senate, won the primary election in March with a majority of the vote. His appointment will be effective Oct. 15, according to the motion filed by Council President Nury Martinez.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, de Leon said he would focus mainly on homelessness and that he would be open to working with the federal government to address it. He also said he wants to see the city approve more permanent supportive housing in a more timely manner.
“This [homelessness] leaves an indelible mark of shame. … We can do so much better than that because we are better than that as a city,” de Leon said on election night in March. “I give you my word that I will roll up my sleeves and do everything that I can humanely possible to make sure that we provide dignity and respect to the tens of thousands … who are sleeping on our streets every night.”
De Leon was not present at the council’s virtual meeting Oct. 13.
The council voted unanimously in June to immediately suspend Huizar, who held the District 14 seat, hours after his arrest on a federal racketeering charge stemming from a wide-ranging bribery investigation.
Huizar never gave up the seat, but he is termed out after the Nov. 3 general election and his trial date is not scheduled until sometime next June.
The motion from Martinez cited the city charter, which allows the council to appoint a person to a vacant seat.
Huizar, 51, is accused of accepting $1.5 million in bribes from developers in exchange for his support of downtown building projects. He has pleaded not guilty to charges in a 34-count racketeering indictment and faces trial next June.
He was stripped of all his committee assignments in November 2018, following FBI searches of his home and offices.