Wave Wire Services
LOS ANGELES — City Councilman Kevin de León has become the latest person to throw his hat into the 2022 mayor’s race, announcing his intention to run Sept. 21.
“Every single neighborhood deserves safe streets, clean sidewalks and clean air, and everyone in our city who works hard should have the opportunity to get ahead,” de León said in a campaign announcement video he released.
“To me, turning big ideas into bold action is what leadership is all about. That’s the only way to confront the challenges we face right now, because going backwards is not in our DNA.”
De Leon joins a race that includes fellow City Councilman Joe Buscaino, City Attorney Mike Feuer and Central City Association of Los Angeles President and CEO Jessica Lall.
Mayor Eric Garcetti is termed out from running again in 2022, and is expected to leave office early pending the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of his appointment as ambassador to India.
De León is a recent addition to the City Council, assuming office in October 2020 after a special election for the District 14 seat vacated by Jose Huizar, who stepped down after being charged in a federal investigation into bribery and corruption.
De León previously served as the president pro tempore of the California Senate, where he served from 2010-18. He served in the state Assembly from 2006-10.
One of de Leon’s early moves on the City Council was a series of motions as part of his “A Way Home” initiative to have the city develop a plan to create 25,000 new homeless housing units by 2025.
“The people of Los Angeles are hurting in ways that I understand on a deeply personal level,” he said in his campaign announcement. “I know what housing insecurity feels like. Growing up in crowded basement apartments, sharing houses with strangers, and sleeping in my car — I understand what it means to live on the margins, wondering whether we would eat or keep the lights on from one month to the next.”
De León is one of three council members to be targeted by a recall petition this year, with constituents upset with “tiny home villages” in their neighborhoods. The petition needs 20,563 signatures of qualified registered voters in Council District 14 by Dec. 14 to get on the ballot.
The villages are meant to serve as interim housing amid a historic homelessness and affordable housing crisis in Los Angeles. Crews broke ground on June 29 on a 224-bed tiny home village in Highland Park, which is expected to be the largest in California.
The day before de León’s announcement, Lall announced her candidacy.
“I am here today to announce that I am running to not only become the next mayor of Los Angeles, but the first female mayor of Los Angeles,” Lall said during a campaign launch event in Mar Vista. “The first digital native mayor of Los Angeles. A mayor who will build inclusive coalitions, invite new voices into the process, and offer something different, something new, to the communities that I’ll serve in the city we call home.”
Lall echoed other candidates in calling the city’s homelessness crisis the top issue.
“I have worked inside City Hall, and led outside City Hall working on our city’s issues day in and day out over the last decade,” she said. “That is the experience I bring to bear, and why I will be uniquely prepared to tackle homelessness from day one. There is no larger crisis than homelessness facing our city,” Lall said.
“And it is clear that even despite good intentions, our government institutions have failed to adequately address the housing and humanitarian crises plaguing our city. Despite unprecedented investments by voters taxing themselves twice, the problem has only deepened.”
The Central City Association, which Lall has led since 2017, is a lobbying group founded in 1924 that represents more than 300 businesses, trade associations and nonprofits in the Los Angeles area.
The primary for the 2022 Los Angeles mayoral election will take place on June 7, with the top two finishers squaring off in the general election Nov. 8.