Former state Senator Kevin de León could take over José Huízar’s 14th district council seat as early as mid-October –two months earlier than expected –the Los Angeles Times reported this week.
In the meantime, a City Hall “caretaker” will be assigned to manage CD-14, which includes all of Boyle Heights, most of downtown, and all or portions of several Northeast neighborhoods like Lincoln Heights, El Sereno and Highland Park.
According to the paper, Council President Nury Martínez set out plans for the caretaker in a letter to the city’s chief legislative analyst. She said De León’s “anticipated appointment” to replace Huízar is slated for Oct. 15.
The caretaker will take care of the many of the district’s day-to-day duties, but will not be allowed to vote on city council measures.
De León was elected in a March primary to succeed Huízar, who terms out this year. But the councilman was arrested in July and subsequently indicted on 34 racketeering, bribery and money laundering charges, named by federal prosecutors as the head of a City Hall corruption operation that took money and gifts from developers in exchange for easing city approval processes.
Following his arrest, Huízar was suspended from his post and the city stopped paying him his bi-weekly salary of more than $8,000.
In an interview last month with a Boyle Heights Beat reporter, De León said he was “ready to take over and roll up my sleeves,” but wanted to make sure there was “legal clarity” before he took over Huízar’s office. But in an interview Tuesday with the Times, De León said he was unable to take over the council seat before the Oct. 15 date because someone in his family had a terminal illness. De León said it was “a deeply personal issue.”