October 14, 2022
Honorable Mitch O’Farrell
City Council, District 13
City of Los Angeles
City Hall, Room 480
Los Angeles, CA 90012
RE: The Resignation of Council Member Kevin de León and the Future of Angels Landing Development
Dear Acting L.A. City Council President O’Farrell,
We are writing to voice our strong concern regarding the conduct, demeanor, and demonstrated racist actions of Council Member Kevin de León. As the developers of Angels Landing, we cannot, in good conscience, go forward and work with Council Member Kevin de León on the Angels Landing project and call for his immediate resignation from the Los Angeles City Council.
As two African Americans who have spent their careers championing inclusiveness, we find his actions offensive to ourselves and the number of dignified, qualified, respectable, and proud individuals of our culture. However, the unfortunate truth is that comments and actions (and inactions) taken by Council Member de León, such as those heard on the recording, are not uncommon or entirely unexpected in today’s climate and continue to cause a divide in our society.
We have been diligently working to move Angels Landing forward for five years. The last two of them, the development team of Angels Landing have tried to work with Council Member de León and others to finalize the approval process. To date, Council Member de León met with us exactly once on March 28, 2022. For a mere 15 minutes in a hotel lobby immediately prior to a press conference we held on the project securing all land use entitlements and entering into agreements with the hotel and building trades unions. At that time, the Council Member was actively running for Mayor of the City of Los Angeles. Despite the importance of a project like Angels Landing, which would deliver thousands of jobs to Los Angeles and has the highest commitment to economic diversity in Los Angeles’ history, we believe the Council Member, due to our sponsorship, was unwilling to work with us to move forward with the project.
Angels Landing will have a major, positive economic impact on downtown Los Angeles and the city at large. Angels Landing is projected to create a $1.6 billion local economic infusion, as well as the following economic benefits:
- More than 8,300 new jobs would be created during Angels Landing’s construction.
- Workers associated with Angels Landing’s design and construction would earn an estimated $731 million in direct, indirect and induced earnings.
- When Angels Landing is completed and open to the public, a permanent workforce will be central to its operations.
- Angels Landing is committed to a minimum of 30% minority-owned and women-owned business procurement, equating to a target of nearly $500 million for minority and women-owned businesses – in a city where half the population is Latino.
- 20 percent affordable housing for Los Angeles residents.
We stress that we want to bring Angels Landing to fruition. We still believe in Los Angeles and are demonstrating that by the millions of dollars we have committed to Angels Landing even during the pandemic and by the billions of dollars we have previously invested in Los Angeles. But we can no longer work with Council Member de León.
In addition, the conduct of certain members of the Los Angeles City Council and its impact on the overall operations of the council cannot afford to go unanswered. It must be the impetus behind a deeper investigation into racial and gender biases and barriers–not only of the three Council Members on the recording but of the systems elected to govern the City of Los Angeles and tasked with its continued equitable prosperity.
Opting to wait for further demonstrations of these prejudices could have devastating effects on the city and its residents and convey that Los Angeles turns a complacent eye to blatant racism and gender-based discrimination. We stand ready to help in any way that we can.
We await the Council’s response to the myriad issues confronting it and the municipal challenges our project now faces. We look forward to seeing appropriate actions taken that would enable us to deliver what the city may need most: a vibrant, inclusive Angels Landing mixed-use development.
R. Donahue Peebles
Chairman & CEO
The Peebles Corporation
Chairman & CEO