Author: Andrew

The Council Should Look the Other Way

The Council Should Look the Other Way

Editorial: What happens after Councilman Kevin de León’s apology tour?

City Hall has shown some leadership, even in the wake of the Councilman Kevin de León scandal, by taking swift corrective action when Mayor Julián Castro’s campaign to oust a low-level Council member found that there was a quorum.

They could have done more. They could have done more. But they also could have done less. Because, as de León’s scandal has showed, the council itself does often find ways to look the other way and to get things done on its own.

The problem is that the council should also look the other way, given that such behavior is wrong as well as self-serving. It is no coincidence that our city has a history of bad behavior of this sort.

What makes the behavior of de León and his backers so egregious, however, is that they acted through political channels, not public ones. De León is not a city official — he is a city councilman, elected by an electoral college vote that counts most strongly on his behalf in a low-turnout election, in a city where nearly 40 percent of the population lives in poverty, and where a city manager, not a council member, is elected city executive. The council’s decision-making process, in effect, is a two-party system, with de León supporting one party, which is an electoral college choice that only weakens his position in politics.

De León’s behavior is worse than a matter of mere bad politics, because he has done things to his fellow council members, to his city, and to his constituents that are beyond the pale.

The council has not been very generous when it comes to dealing with de León’s behavior. As a group, the council does not take the moral high ground on the issue. Rather, it is the council, with its lack of discipline and its propensity for passivity, that shows greater moral leadership.

There is no doubt that de León has been the most outspoken

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