Cedillo Claims Victory With 70% of Vote

May 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

After widely being expected to win re-election outright in March, Councilman Gilbert “Gil” Cedillo finally declared victory Tuesday, crushing challenger Joe Bray-Ali in the 1st Council District runoff, completing the downfall of a once-hopeful challenger.

Unofficial results posted Wednesday on the Los Angeles City Clerk website had Cedillo with a commanding lead, 70.5 percent to Bray-Ali’s 29.4 percent. Too few votes remain to be counted to put a dent in Cedillo’s landslide win.

The 1st Council District includes Chinatown, Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Pico-Union, Westlake and other east and northeast neighborhoods.

(Gil Cedillo Twitter)

(Gil Cedillo Twitter)

Workers from both campaigns were out in full force Election Day, knocking on doors and making phone calls on behalf of their candidate right up to the polls closing.

Standing outside his polling place at the Lincoln Heights Senior Center Tuesday, Adrian Aceves said he voted for Cedillo because the councilman does what’s right for Latinos: “Who else can we trust,” the 72-year-old said in Spanish.

“I’m here [at the center] all the time and all the seniors like me are voting for him because he’s really cleaning things up and making things better.”

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the center was nearly deserted. Aceves said it had been like that all day. Poll workers said the turnout had been “steady,” with a short rush around 5 p.m.

There are 2,075,452 registered voters in the city, but only 175,683 votes were cast citywide, putting the turnout at about 8.46 percent. Over half the ballots, 107,413 were vote-by-mail. In Council District 1, with just 12,481 ballots to count election night, it did not take long for the election results to start rolling in.

Claiming victory early Tuesday night in front of a packed room of supporters gathered at the Tree House Lounge in Chinatown, Cedillo said voters in the 1st District “…chose experience, they chose an incredible record.” He said voters selected the candidate “who wants to bring people together.”

The incumbent councilman pledged to continue working closely with the community on making progress in Council District 1.

Cedillo’s challenger, Bray-Ali, turned heads when he forced Cedillo into the runoff because he has never held elective office, and no incumbent has been beaten in a City Council election since 2003.

But Bray-Ali’s post primary momentum took a major hit in late April when a series of racist and derogatory statements he had made online came to light, causing him to lose a number of key endorsements, despite his attempts to explain away the comments as having been taken out of context.

One of the posts included the racial slur known as the N-word, and others appeared to mock overweight people and the transgender community. Following the revelations, Bray-Ali was denounced by numerous civil rights and LGBT leaders in Los Angeles, and seven City Council members called for him to drop out of the race.

Outside the Highland Park Recreation Center Tuesday, about an hour before the polls closed, Martha, who preferred not to use her last name, said she voted for Bray-Ali because at least “he could make a fresh start for the district.”

“I had a lot of hope when I voted for Cedillo when he first ran, but he let me down,” Martha said.

“My family is all immigrants, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing I care about,” she said. “Joe has a lot of bad stuff to make up for, so maybe we can pressure him into doing more things for us,” the mother of three told EGP.

Cedillo supporters say the councilman has not been given enough credit for what he has done in the district, pointing out that his trash hauling and bulky item removal programs have been expanded citywide by Mayor Garcetti. They hailed his decades of work on behalf of undocumented immigrants and workers.

In a Facebook post Monday appealing to voters to turn out, Becca Dotten praised Cedillo’s “long commitment to the environment, in particularly ensuring environmental justice in low-income communities. He has helped create and revitalize acres upon acres of park space, including along the LA River and LA State Park.” She also praised his efforts to build affordable housing.

Celebrating with Cedillo Tuesday was a who’s who of progressive current and former elected officials, business interests, labor groups, and immigrant rights and community activists.

Cedillo had a long list of endorsements, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, eight City Council members, Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California.

“Congratulations to Gil Cedillo on his well-deserved re-election that ensures we can continue building stronger neighborhoods and standing up for the most vulnerable Angelenos,” Garcetti said.

Cedillo also had the support of the powerful, 600,000 member Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which through a committee spent $300,000 on the incumbent’s campaign, on top of the over $500,000 Cedillo’s campaign raised from other sources.

“The voters showed that experience, ability and empathy matter. Council District One remains in good hands,” wrote Dotten Tuesday.

Cedillo closed out his comments Tuesday by thanking supporters, telling them, “I know what you’ve done, I know how hard your worked, I know your prayers, I know your commitments, I know your positive thoughts, I know all that you’ve done to get us to this point, and for that I say thank you and God bless …”

Information from City News Service used in this report.

 

Cedillo Claims Victory With 70% of Vote

May 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

After widely being expected to win re-election outright in March, Councilman Gilbert “Gil” Cedillo finally declared victory Tuesday, crushing challenger Joe Bray-Ali in the 1st Council District runoff, completing the downfall of a once-hopeful challenger.

Unofficial results posted Wednesday on the Los Angeles City Clerk website had Cedillo with a commanding lead, 70.5 percent to Bray-Ali’s 29.4 percent. Too few votes remain to be counted to put a dent in Cedillo’s landslide win.

The 1st Council District includes Chinatown, Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Pico-Union, Westlake and other east and northeast neighborhoods.

(Gil Cedillo Twitter)

(Gil Cedillo Twitter)

Workers from both campaigns were out in full force Election Day, knocking on doors and making phone calls on behalf of their candidate right up to the polls closing.

Standing outside his polling place at the Lincoln Heights Senior Center Tuesday, Adrian Aceves said he voted for Cedillo because the councilman does what’s right for Latinos: “Who else can we trust,” the 72-year-old said in Spanish.

“I’m here [at the center] all the time and all the seniors like me are voting for him because he’s really cleaning things up and making things better.”

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the center was nearly deserted. Aceves said it had been like that all day. Poll workers said the turnout had been “steady,” with a short rush around 5 p.m.

There are 2,075,452 registered voters in the city, but only 175,683 votes were cast citywide, putting the turnout at about 8.46 percent. Over half the ballots, 107,413 were vote-by-mail. In Council District 1, with just 12,481 ballots to count election night, it did not take long for the election results to start rolling in.

Claiming victory early Tuesday night in front of a packed room of supporters gathered at the Tree House Lounge in Chinatown, Cedillo said voters in the 1st District “…chose experience, they chose an incredible record.” He said voters selected the candidate “who wants to bring people together.”

The incumbent councilman pledged to continue working closely with the community on making progress in Council District 1.

Cedillo’s challenger, Bray-Ali, turned heads when he forced Cedillo into the runoff because he has never held elective office, and no incumbent has been beaten in a City Council election since 2003.

But Bray-Ali’s post primary momentum took a major hit in late April when a series of racist and derogatory statements he had made online came to light, causing him to lose a number of key endorsements, despite his attempts to explain away the comments as having been taken out of context.

One of the posts included the racial slur known as the N-word, and others appeared to mock overweight people and the transgender community. Following the revelations, Bray-Ali was denounced by numerous civil rights and LGBT leaders in Los Angeles, and seven City Council members called for him to drop out of the race.

Outside the Highland Park Recreation Center Tuesday, about an hour before the polls closed, Martha, who preferred not to use her last name, said she voted for Bray-Ali because at least “he could make a fresh start for the district.”

“I had a lot of hope when I voted for Cedillo when he first ran, but he let me down,” Martha said.

“My family is all immigrants, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing I care about,” she said. “Joe has a lot of bad stuff to make up for, so maybe we can pressure him into doing more things for us,” the mother of three told EGP.

Cedillo supporters say the councilman has not been given enough credit for what he has done in the district, pointing out that his trash hauling and bulky item removal programs have been expanded citywide by Mayor Garcetti. They hailed his decades of work on behalf of undocumented immigrants and workers.

In a Facebook post Monday appealing to voters to turn out, Becca Dotten praised Cedillo’s “long commitment to the environment, in particularly ensuring environmental justice in low-income communities. He has helped create and revitalize acres upon acres of park space, including along the LA River and LA State Park.” She also praised his efforts to build affordable housing.

Celebrating with Cedillo Tuesday was a who’s who of progressive current and former elected officials, business interests, labor groups, and immigrant rights and community activists.

Cedillo had a long list of endorsements, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, eight City Council members, Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California.

“Congratulations to Gil Cedillo on his well-deserved re-election that ensures we can continue building stronger neighborhoods and standing up for the most vulnerable Angelenos,” Garcetti said.

Cedillo also had the support of the powerful, 600,000 member Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which through a committee spent $300,000 on the incumbent’s campaign, on top of the over $500,000 Cedillo’s campaign raised from other sources.

“The voters showed that experience, ability and empathy matter. Council District One remains in good hands,” wrote Dotten Tuesday.

Cedillo closed out his comments Tuesday by thanking supporters, telling them, “I know what you’ve done, I know how hard your worked, I know your prayers, I know your commitments, I know your positive thoughts, I know all that you’ve done to get us to this point, and for that I say thank you and God bless …”

Information from City News Service used in this report.

 

Cedillo Gana en Grande en Elección Municipal

May 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

El concejal Gil Cedillo celebró una imponente victoria de reelección el miércoles, en contra de su oponente, cuya campaña se desvaneció en medio de una ola de cuestionables publicaciones en el Internet, considerados por muchos como despectivos y racialmente insensibles.

Cedillo, quien falló por poco el ser reelegido durante la elección primaria de marzo, aplastó a su retador, Joe Bray-Ali, en la segunda ronda del martes, terminando la caída del alguna vez esperanzado.

Bray-Ali volteó cabezas, cuando forzó a Cedillo a una segunda ronda, ya que él nunca había ocupado un puesto electo y ningún oficial actual ha sido vencido en una elección del Ayuntamiento desde 2003.

Los resultados no oficiales, publicados el miércoles en el sitio Web de la Secretaría de la Ciudad de Los Ángeles, presentan a Cedillo con una ventaja prominente de un 79.5 por ciento versus el 29.4 por ciento de Bray-Ali.

A billboard for urging the public to vote for Councilman Gil Cedillo is found next to the campaign office of his challenger Joe Bray-Ali. (Photo by Diana Martinez)

Un cartel insta al público a votar por el concejal, Gill Cedillo, ubicado a la par de la oficina de campaña de su retador, Joe Bray-Ali. (Foto por Diana Martínez)

El primer distrito del consejo incluye a Chinatown, Highland Park, Westlake y otros vecindarios del noreste de Los Ángeles.

 

El impulso prematuro de Bray-Ali fue desalentado a finales de abril cuando una serie de declaraciones racistas y derogatorias, que él mismo había publicado en el Internet, salieron a luz. Esto le causó varios endosos importantes, a pesar de sus intentos de explicar que los comentarios habían sido tomados fuera de contexto.

Reclamando la victoria, el martes por la tarde, Cedillo le dijo a un grupo de partidarios reunidos en el Tree House Lounge en Chinatown, que el 1er Distrito “… eligió la experiencia, eligió un récord increíble”. Él dijo que los votantes eligieron al candidato “que unirá a las personas”.

El concejal titular se comprometió a seguir trabajando estrechamente con la comunidad para que el Distrito 1 del concejo siga avanzando.

Celebrando con Cedillo estuvieron los más prominentes de la corriente progresiva y ex funcionarios elegidos, junto con intereses comerciantes, grupos laborales y activistas a favor de los derechos de los inmigrantes y de la comunidad.

Cedillo tuvo una larga lista de respaldos, incluyendo el del Alcalde, Eric Garcetti, de ocho miembros del Concejo Municipal, el Gobernador Jerry Brown y la Senadora Kamala Harris, D-California. También contó con el apoyo de la poderosa Federación de Trabajadores del Condado de Los Ángeles, que a través de un comité invirtieron $300,000 en la campaña del titular. Adicionalmente, la campaña de Cedillo recaudó otros $500,000 por medio de otras fuentes.

Cedillo cerró sus comentarios el martes agradeciendo a sus simpatizantes, diciéndoles: “Sé lo que han logrado, sé lo duro que han trabajado, conozco sus oraciones y sus compromisos. Conozco sus pensamientos positivos y sé de todo lo que han hecho para llegar hasta este punto. Por eso les doy las gracias y que Dios los bendiga …”.

Información de City News Service fue utilizada en este informe.

Cedillo Wins Big In Council Race

May 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Councilman Gil Cedillo was celebrating a commanding re-election victory Wednesday over an opponent whose campaign fizzled amid a wave of questionable internet posts condemned by critics as derogatory and racially insensitive.

Cedillo, who narrowly missed being re-elected during the March primary, crushed challenger Joe Bray-Ali in Tuesday’s runoff, completing the downfall of a once-hopeful challenger.

Bray-Ali turned heads when he forced Cedillo into the runoff because he has never held elective office, and no incumbent has been beaten in a City Council election since 2003.

Unofficial results posted Wednesday on the Los Angeles City Clerk website has Cedillo with a commanding lead, 79.5 percent to Bray-Ali’s 29.4 percent.

The 1st Council District includes Chinatown, Highland Park, Westlake and other northeast Los Angeles neighborhoods.

A billboard for urging the public to vote for Councilman Gil Cedillo is found next to the campaign office of his challenger Joe Bray-Ali. (Photo by Diana Martinez)

A billboard for urging the public to vote for Councilman Gil Cedillo is found next to the campaign office of his challenger Joe Bray-Ali. (Photo by Diana Martinez)

Bray-Ali’s post primary momentum took a major hit in late April when a series of racist and derogatory statements he had made online came to light, causing him to lose a number of key endorsements, despite his attempts to explain away the comments as having been taken out of context.

Claiming victory early Tuesday night in front of a packed room of supporters gathered at the Tree House Lounge in Chinatown, Cedillo said voters in the 1st District “…chose experience, they chose an incredible record.” He said voters selected the candidate “who wants to bring people together.”

The incumbent councilman pledged to continue working closely with the community on making progress in Council District 1.

Celebrating with Cedillo was a who’s who of progressive current and former elected officials, business interests, labor groups, and immigrant rights and community activists.

Cedillo had a long list of endorsements, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, eight City Council members, Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California. He also had the support of the powerful, 600,000 member Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which through a committee spent $300,000 on the incumbent’s campaign, on top of the over $500,000 Cedillo’s campaign raised from other sources.

Cedillo closed out his comments Tuesday by thanking supporters, telling them, “I know what you’ve done, I know how hard your worked, I know your prayers, I know your commitments, I know your positive thoughts, I know all that you’ve done to get us to this point, and for that I say thank you and God bless …”

Information from City News Service used in this report.

It’s Down to ‘D Day’ in CD1 Race

May 11, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

In less than a week, voters in Los Angeles’s first district will decide who will represent them in the city council for the next five years.

Next Tuesday is “D Day,” closing out what had been a rough and tumble, volatile campaign between a longtime legislator, incumbent Gil Cedillo and campaign novice and bike-lane advocate, Joe Bray-Ali.

Cedillo, who was elected in 2013, was forced into the May 16 runoff when he fell just short of the required 50 percent to win the race outright in the March 7 primary, finishing with 49.34 percent to Bray-Ali’s 37.97 percent.

For the next month, Bray-Ali appeared to be gaining ground on the incumbent, receiving some high profile endorsements and tapping into voters who felt Cedillo and his staff had not been responsive to the district’s needs.

Cedillo’s campaign looked to turn things around with more events and handshaking, and more aggressively reaching out to voters to let them know what he had being doing to improve public safety and cleanliness in the district, as well as infrastructure repairs and traffic safety enhancements.

Two weeks ago, Cedillo’s campaign got a major boost when Bray-Ali came under fire from LGBT groups, civil rights organizations and numerous elected city officials for a series of racist and derogatory statements he made online, some as recently as one year ago.

He lost key endorsements over comments he made online in which he used the N-word, called gender reassignment surgery a “shameless excess,” used the word “retard” and made other comments which offended leaders in the LGBT and civil rights communities.

Bray-Ali did further injury to his campaign by posting other damaging information about himself, on his Facebook page, in which he admitted to cheating on his wife for years, owing $48,000 in back taxes and committing vandalism.

According to Bray-Ali, he wanted to put the information out before it could be used by the Cedillo campaign to “smear” him.

The revelations led to calls for him to withdraw, but Bray-Ali had pledged to stay in the race until the finish.

Bray-Ali has continued to make campaign appearances and knock on doors in an effort to sway voters in his direction. Whether it’s enough to overcome the controversies surrounding him remains to been seen.

Cedillo, meanwhile, is not taking anything for granted in the wake of Bray-Ali’s seeming downfall. He and his campaign have stepped up efforts to engage voters across the district.

(EGP photo archive)

(EGP photo archive)

Councilman Gil Cedillo, top, will go up against challenger Joe Bray-Ali,bottom, in the L.A. City Council District 1 runoff May 16. (Joe Bray-Ali For City Council District 1)

Councilman Gil Cedillo, top, will go up against challenger Joe Bray-Ali,bottom, in the L.A. City Council District 1 runoff May 16. (Joe Bray-Ali For City Council District 1)

 

Thirty years ago, a landmark court decision on redistricting created what is now the city of Los Angeles’s first council district, that runs from Lincoln Heights to Highland Park, through downtown over to Koreatown, and Westlake.

MAOF, the Mexican Legal Defense and Education Fund, at the time argued in court that Los Angeles leaders had for decades engaged in gerrymandering, drawing district boundary lines that marginalized Latino representation in the voting process. MAOF argued that including the San Fernando Valley in the district had resulted in Latinos being able to potentially only elect one Latino to the city council, and that was in what is now Council District 14.

The courts agreed, and in 1987, the city was forced to reconfigure the district, removing the San Fernando Valley and concentrating CD-1 in northeast, downtown and an area just west of the civic center, thereby creating a second majority-Latino council district.

The district had been represented by a Latino ever since, but according to Antonio Gonzalez, president of the Southwest Voter Education Project, that could change if longtime voters fail to get out and vote to reelect Council Gil Cedillo over his challenger in the race, Joe Bray-Ali.

His failure to win the primary outright caught Cedillo’s campaign and many eastside leaders by surprise, according to Gonzalez, who in analysis of the campaign released in April noted that it may not have been an “anti-incumbent” trend that forced Cedillo into a runoff, but “the changing demographics and gentrification of the District.”

“CD1 (like CD14 and CD13) is rapidly changing as youthful hipsters/millennials colonize the eastside together with developers looking for redevelopment opportunities,” wrote Gonzalez. “The elderly Chican@ homeowner class is beginning to exit the stage either through death or relocation to greener pastures (i.e. suburbs),” thus crating “unforeseen challenges for Cedillo.”

Based on that analysis, turn out remains a critical issue for both campaigns.

But according to Gonzalez, the odds favor Cedillo, because “high propensity voters in CD1 tend to be older, Latin@ and white homeowners that typically favor incumbents in low turnout races.

“Add to that Cedillo’s unique ability to attract down-scale Mexican and Salvadoran naturalized voters grateful for his generation-long advocacy for immigrants,” says Gonzalez, and it appears Cedillo has a “winning coalition” that could spur him onto victory, despite Bray-A1i’s appeal as “something new” to voters willing to overlook his many transgressions.

EGP Endorsements: City of Los Angeles General Election

May 4, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Voters in the City of Los Angeles will go to the polls again on May 11– at least we hope they will — to vote on Los Angeles Unified School District Board seats, one city council race, and on a proposal to reform the process for disciplining officers in the Los Angeles Police Department.

We fully understand that some people may be experiencing voter fatigue, but it’s still important to vote, even if only one of the three measures listed are on the ballot in your area. Here are Eastern Group Publication’s endorsements for the May 11 General Election:

 

Vote No Proposition C

EGP is urging a No Vote on Charter Amendment C because we do not believe allowing officers to choose the makeup of the board that will discipline them – even if it gives a “larger voice” to civilians — will actually result in officers accused of acting outside police policy not being more routinely, or fairly disciplined.

In our view, the current makeup of department hearing officers, that includes two police officers and one civilian allows for both experience on department policy and civilian oversight to be part of the process. According to the data, citizens tend to be more lenient than police personnel when it comes to disciplining the actions of officers. Civilians tend to temper disciplinary hearings, cognizant of the fact that those being disciplined are human and often act on human instinct.

Police officers are aware of this pattern, so it’s no surprise that they support allowing officers up for review to choose the makeup of the hearing board they will appear before.

We believe that a disciplinary hearing composed of only civilians will lack the experience on policy and police procedures necessary to give the panel the needed depth of knowledge needed for such a critical function.

Vote No on C.

 

Cedillo for Los Angeles
City Council District 1

Eastern Group Publications is re-stating its endorsement of Councilmember Gil Cedillo for reelection to Council Seat No. 1.

As we stated before, we believe that Cedillo has been attentive to the needs of the 1st District. We believe the incumbent has made strides in cleaning the district, no easy task given the density of the district. Cedillo’s trash removal program has been adopted by the mayor and deployed to other parts of the city. So has his initiative to remove bulky items, such as old mattresses, broken furniture and other items thrown on the streets and alleys of his district, not to mention his program that allows trash haulers to go into a person’s home to remove those items; an especially valuable resource for the elderly.

Despite complaints about pedestrian safety, improvements have been made. Some have criticized that the councilman is only making the improvements, such as installing traffic signals and lighted crosswalks because people are complaining, but isn’t that what we expect them to do?

There is no doubt that homelessness and affordable housing are big issues in the first district. Gentrification that has led to displacement is a concern, with no easy answer.

There is no doubt that there is a critical shortage of housing in the area, especially affordable housing. The shortage is a citywide problem, as is investment in low-income neighborhoods that actually lead to more and better paying jobs, as well as increased revenue to pay for city services.

While Councilman Cedillo has our endorsement, we ask that he do a better job engaging residents in the process to solve the problems in their own backyards, including updating neighborhood plans and permitting of new construction.

Both he and his staff must listen to the concerns of the residents of his district.

Recent revelations about his challenger, Joe Bray-Ali, making racist and homophobic and other despicable comments have strengthened our support for Cedillo. As we have noted in the past, Bray-Ali has demonstrated a temperament that is not only immature, but also resembles bullying.

Take, for instance, the councilman’s decision not to support a bicycle lane on North Figueroa. We believe it was a wise decision that had community support, despite the aggressive attacks by his challenger, who for a time would take to Twitter and other social media sites to blame the councilman’s decision against bike lanes for every traffic accident in the district – even some outside the district.

The truth is, just constructing bike lanes will not solve the problems on North Figueroa or in many other areas.

EGP believes reelecting Cedillo to another terms is what’s best for the residents of the first district. Cedillo is a known quantity, who has been well-vetted during his decades is public office.

We have been greatly disturbed by the number of candidates and newly elected officials who are not adequately vetted by their supporters, and even the media, only later to be found unprepared, insincere, or in the cast of Bray-Ali, unsuited for public office.

This not only wastes time and funds, both public and private, but also contributes to the lack of participation in the electoral process.

Despite Growing Criticism, Bray-Ali Says He Will Not Drop Out of Race

May 4, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

An embattled first-time political candidate for city council went on the defensive Wednesday, posting a video on his campaign’s Facebook page claiming recent media reports about his character – or lack thereof – are nothing more than a political “distraction” and a “misrepresentation and mischaracterization not only of my words but who I am as a person.”

Joe Bray-Ali is challenging Councilman Gil Cedillo in the 1st Council District, and has come under intense fire from LGBT groups, civil rights organizations and numerous elected city officials for a series of racist and derogatory statements he made online, some as recently as one year ago.

Cedillo was forced into the May 16 runoff when he fell just short of the required 50 percent of the vote on March 7, finishing with 49.34 percent to Bray-Ali’s 37.97 percent.

Several groups have criticized Bray-Ali as seeming ‘un-repentant” for comments he made online in which he used the N-word, called gender reassignment surgery a “shameless excess,” used the word “retard” and made other comments which offended leaders in the LGBT and civil rights communities.

On Wednesday, a small group of veterans added their voices to the growing number of critics calling for Bray-Ali to withdraw from the race.

Although the vets do not represent any official veterans organization, a spokesman for the group, Mark Quiroz, said the vets are angered over a 2006 blog post from Bray-Ali in which he wrote, “Let people burn the flag all they want, let ‘em put it in their avant-garde art videos smeared in poo, let them destroy it.”

Quiroz said Bray-Ali was asked by a veteran at a candidate forum on April 19 to apologize for the comments and he declined.

“He was given the opportunity to apologize in an open forum and he refused to,” said Quiroz, a former member of the Glassell Park Neighborhood Council, adding that the veterans do not plan to endorse Cedillo.

In a Facebook video posted Wednesday, Bray-Ali said his words were taken out of context, and that what he wrote in the 2006 blog post was a response opposing legislative action to ban flag burning, and he was saying the flag is not the people.

A group of military veterans gathered at the Highland Park Veterans Memorial Wednesday call for Joe Bray-Ali to withdraw over comments he made about flag burning in 2006 on blog post. (Courtesy of Al C. Strange)

A group of military veterans gathered at the Highland Park Veterans Memorial Wednesday call for Joe Bray-Ali to withdraw over comments he made about flag burning in 2006 on blog post. (Courtesy of Al C. Strange)

Discovery of the postings, characterized as racist, transphobic and misogynist, prompted the Los Angeles Times and City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and the Eastside Democratic Club last week to rescind their endorsements. Bray-Ali was also denounced by City Controller Ron Galperin and seven City Council members and numerous leaders from the LGBT and civil rights communities have called for him to pull out of the race.

The endorsements had been a significant boost for Bray-Ali, a former bicycle shop owner who has never held political office.

After losing the endorsements, Bray-Ali decided to come forward with other damaging information about himself, and in a Facebook post admitted to habitually cheating on his wife for years, owing $48,000 in back taxes and committing vandalism.

According to Bray-Ali, he wanted to put the information out before it could be used by the Cedillo campaign to “smear” him.

Bray-Ali opened the post by saying, “Here is the dirt on me.” The post then said:

—“Flying Pigeon-LA LLC owes the State Board of Equalization for a failure to pay an audit and several quarters of sales taxes. The amount is ~$48,000 the last time I bothered to open the envelope.’

—“I slept with several other women from 2011 to 2014. Not my wife. For a time I even had a Tinder profile.’

—“I painted bike symbols (sharrows) in the middle of the night with friends, and on camera with German documentary filmmaker.’

—“I have said many profane, rude, statements to people I’ve gotten into arguments with online.’

In a new video posted Wednesday, Bray-Ali said he has trained as an anthropologist and is interested in listening to people who I “completely disagree with,” people who will stick to things no matter what. Last week he said that he visited the racist websites to “educate” himself.

Montecito Heights resident Diana Martinez doesn’t buy his explanation. She said one of his campaign supporters over the weekend asked her what the candidate could do to change her mind: “Tell him to tell the truth because no one believes he went to the low-life site to ‘educate,’” she says she responded. “It was Joe’s b.s. lying video that completely lost my vote,” said Martinez, who has lived in the district for 30 years.

But Bray-Ali is not backing down. He said his online slurs “are a distraction from what this election is about and not a reflection of who I am as a person. They are a verification that I am a human being with flaws, like everyone.”

He said the focus should be on replacing a “do-nothing incumbent” and keeping him from having another five-and-a-half more years in office. It’s about crime going up, the homeless and people being priced out of their homes,” and not about his online comments, the candidate said.

In the video posted Wednesday, Bray-Ali said he had struggled to come up with a response to the accusations being made against him, criticizing the main street media for picking up a “misleading story” and “sloppy reporting.”

Bray-Ali has vowed to fight through election day even though his comments have been denounced by City Controller Ron Galperin, Equality California, the Courage Campaign and the Los Angeles chapter of the National Action Network, along with seven sitting City Council members who called on him to drop out of the race.

Bray-Ali’s wife, Susan Wong, defended him on Tuesday in a post on his campaign’s Facebook page.

“I know my husband Josef, and he is a person of integrity. He is caring and inclusive of all people. In this climate, it is so important for people to check the sources and see if true journalism is occurring, or if a misleading headline, and mischaracterizations are occurring — we need to make sure that we critically analyze everything,” Wong said.

“I’ve lived here for nearly 30 years” and I’m disappointed Cedillo’s supporters aren’t in front of Bray-Ali’s office protesting every day, said Martinez.

“I’m sure he won’t mind losing my vote … I’m fat, I honk my horn sometimes to alert my son when he doesn’t pick up the phone, and I have friends who have had sex change operations,” Martinez said.

“If he’s honorable, drop out of the race.”

 

Information from City News Service was used in this report.

 

Bray-Ali Accused of Making Racist, Transphobic Comments

April 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

City Council challenger Joe Bray-Ali’s campaign took another publicity hit Wednesday with the revelation of derogatory comments he posted online targeting the black and transgender communities, along with mentally disabled and overweight people.

The comments, first reported by LAist, include the use of the N-word during participation in a racist forum dedicated to expressing hatred of black people. The revelations come about a week after Bray-Ali apologized for a 9-year-old YouTube video in which he made comments directed at Mexicans.

The video appears on a Bray-Ali YouTube page. Holding his baby in his lap, Bray-Ali, who is of multiracial descent but not Latino, looks at the camera and says, “Dear Mexican. I’d like to know why all my neighbors think the doorbell is a car horn. They wake up my baby.”

Below the video is text that reads, “Why do some of my neighbors think that their car’s horn is a doorbell? The Asians, whites and other groups I live near don’t honk to tell their friends they have arrived. What is up with the Mexicans?”

Bray-Ali’s campaign manager, Michael Atkins, told City News Service the video was old and a relic of the First District challenger’s youth.

“Joe apologizes. He says the comment was stupid and it’s amazing how social media can remind of the mistakes of youth. This was nine years ago,” Atkins said.

The newly reported comments were made on a Reddit-like website called Voat under an online alias, ubrayj02, which Bray-Ali has used as his MySpace, Flickr and YouTube handle for more than a decade, according to LAist. In contrast to the You Tube video, some of the comments are just over a year old, close to the time Bray-Ali entered the city council race.

Bray-Ali has deleted the Voat comments over the last few days, LAist reported.

The Bray-Ali campaign did not respond to a request for comment from City News Service. But Bray-Ali told LAist, “Looking back on the comments, I’m embarrassed and ashamed. I apologize to my wife, daughter, family and community for putting them in this situation. My commitment to being accountable and of service to the community continues.”

Bray-Ali, 38, is challenging 1st District City Councilman Gil Cedillo, 63. Cedillo was forced into the May 16 runoff when the incumbent fell just short of the required 50 percent of the vote on March 7, finishing with 49.34 percent to Bray-Ali’s 37.97 percent.

“The comments made by Joe Bray-Ali on Voat are disgraceful and have no place in the public square,” Cedillo said. “His assault on people from all walks of life clearly demonstrates that he is not fit for public office, and particularly unsuited to represent a district as diverse as Los Angeles’ 1st. This pattern of behavior is not acceptable in the Los Angeles City Council. I vehemently denounce his comments.”

The “Dear Mexican” video surfaced after Bray-Ali sent out a statement accusing Cedillo of failing to denounce an anti-immigrant slur yelled at Bray-Ali during a debate, when someone in

the audience said, “Go back to India.”

Bray-Ali has an Indian father, and is also of Hungarian, Irish and Jewish descent.

Cedillo is Latino and said he did not hear the comment yelled at Bray-Ali during the debate. A video of the debate showed that Cedillo was taking notes at the time and it was not clear if he heard the person.

He later denounced the comment, saying he would have done it sooner had he heard the remark.

Bray-Ali’s comments are drawing strong criticism from the leaders of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Action Network — the nonprofit civil rights organization founded by Rev. Al Sharpton. The group called on Bray-Ali to drop out of the race and for Councilman Mitch O’Farrell to pull his endorsement of Bray-Ali.

“Bray-Ali is clearly unfit to serve in public service as a council member and doesn’t deserve the support of Council member O’Farrell or any voter. His transphobic, fat-shaming comments while participating on a racist website demonstrates he doesn’t have the moral character or leadership to serve as an elected official,” said Najee Ali, political director of NAN, and Pastor K.W.Tullloss, CEO of NAN, in a joint statement.

In one of the forums, which uses the N-word as its title, Bray-Ali commented on some videos of black people fighting, taking aim at their fighting skills and appearance and also used the word “retard” to describe a cameraman’s skills.

Other commentators use the N-word and other derogatory and racist language repeatedly, and Bray-Ali did not denounce the language in his own posts. One commentator said, “I like it when they die. Black lives don’t matter. Good for entertainment though.”

Bray-Ali also used the N-word himself when he said that dark-skinned people in a particular image were not Africans, which should disqualify them from being called the N-word.

On a forum called “v/FATPEOPLEHATE,” Bray-Ali commented on an overweight woman accused of aiding in the sexual abuse of her daughter, saying “If they keep her on her diet, that won’t be a long lifetime.”

In another forum, Bray-Ali said gender-reassignment surgery for transgender people “doesn’t seem like something worthy of praise, but instead of being criticized as a shameful excess.”

Bray-Ali is a former bicycle shop owner and biking activist. Although he has never held elected office, he received the endorsement of the Los Angeles Times editorial board and O’Farrell.

O’Farrell is openly gay and a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. He did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

 

L.A. Expands Special Order 40 to Other Agencies, Departments

March 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The City Council unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday in support of federal legislation that would ensure individuals being held or detained at a port of entry or at any immigration detention facility would be guaranteed access to legal counsel.

The Access to Counsel Act was introduced by California Sen. Kamala Harris and comes after President Donald Trump issued two executive orders halting or limiting immigration from some Muslim-majority countries. Both of the orders have been blocked by federal judges.

The resolution was approved with an 11-0 vote

“As an immigrant, I’m appalled by the Trump administration’s blatant disregard for the values Americans hold dear,” Councilman David Ryu said.

The vote comes one day after Mayor Eric Garcetti signed Executive Directive 20 that prevents the city’s harbor and airport police and fire department from enforcing federal immigration laws, following a similar policy that has been in place by the city’s police department for decades.

It expands Special Order 40, the Los Angeles Police Department’s policy that prohibits officers from initiating any police activity for the sole purpose of identifying someone’s immigration status.

The mayor’s action Tuesday was part of the Cities’ Day of Immigration Action, which was organized by the United States Conference of Mayors. Sixty-five mayors from around the country took part in the day of action to help promote immigrants’ rights.

“This is a day I think when mayors are standing up for universal American values,” Garcetti said on a conference call with reporters and the 65 mayors. “We are standing alongside our police chiefs, our faith leaders, our legal advocates, our business leaders and community advocates to reaffirm our commitment to our immigrant residents.”

At a press conference later in the day at the Lincoln Height Youth Center, the mayor and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck emphasized that expansion of Special Order 40 is about ensuring public safety and keeping city resources from being used to do the work of federal immigration authorities.

Both the mayor and chief said recent ICE raids and the presence of ICE agents at courthouses have had a negative impact on crime reporting by Latinos.

Reports of sexual assaults and domestic violence in the Latino community have fallen this year significantly compared to last year, Beck said.

Sexual assault reports have fallen 25 percent, and domestic violence reports have fallen 10 percent.

Beck said there was a “strong correlation” between the decreases and fears in the city’s immigrant population about increased federal immigration arrests in the city. He also said the reduction “far exceeds the reductions of any other demographic group.”

“Imagine someone being the victim of domestic violence and not calling the police,” he said. “Imagine your daughter, your sister, your mother, your friend not reporting sexual assault because they are afraid the family will be torn apart.”

The vast majority of immigrants detained since Pres. Donald Trump’s executive order directing ICE to step up immigration enforcement actions and deportations have been from Mexico and Central America, leading activists to complain that Latinos are being profiled and targeted by immigration enforcement officers.

“Where are the arrests of people from Canada and Australia,” a woman in the audience who only wanted to use her first name, Ana, asked EGP following the press conference.

Councilman Gil Cedillo (CD-1) was with the mayor Tuesday in Lincoln Heights. He said Los Angeles has a long reputation of protecting immigrants, and said Garcetti’s signing of Executive Directive 20, means the city is not only “accepting of immigrants,” but also a city that “protects them.”

“Not too long ago, Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez was dropping off his kids at school, when ICE arrested him and detained him. For a child, that image of having your father taken away by an agent that has the words “POLICE” written on his jacket, goes against our efforts to instill trust and cooperation with our local law enforcement,” he told EGP in an email.

Both Beck and Garcetti expressed concern that immigrant families out of fear may be keeping their children home from school or from participating in after-school and other programs.

Cedillo said his office is “starting to see constituents call in for City services and being reluctant to give their name or address. This tells us that people are scared,” something he says is not only counterproductive to our service delivery efforts, but is also inhumane.”

Executive Directive 20 prohibits officers from initiating any police activity for the sole purpose of identifying someone’s immigration status. It also bars any city employee from assisting any federal agency where the primary purpose is federal civil immigration enforcement.

“All residents must feel safe and supported when accessing the vast array of city facilities, programs, and services available to them,” the order states.

Information from City News Service used in this report.

 

Cedillo, Bray-Ali to Face Off in May 16 Runoff

March 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

About 140 votes shy of what he needed for an outright victory, incumbent City Councilman Gil Cedillo will now face challenger Joe Bray-Ali in a May runoff for his First Council District seat.

According to the final March 7 Primary vote tally certified by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder Tuesday, Cedillo’s initial lead dropped from a high of 51.2 percent to 49.39 percent – just below the 50 percent plus one votes needed to avoid a runoff with second place finisher Bray-Ali, who received 37.97 percent of votes cast.

In terms of actual numbers, Cedillo had 10,396 votes in his column while Bray-Ali finished with 8,000 votes.

Cedillo, a veteran politician who served in both the State Senate and Assembly before winning a seat on the city council, faced four challengers for his council seat.

The council district includes some of the city’s most densely populated and diverse neighborhoods in multiple Central and Northeast Los Angeles communities, including, Cypress Park, Glassell Park, Chinatown, Echo Park, Elysian Park, Highland Park, Koreatown, Lincoln Heights, MacArthur Park, Pico Union, University Park and a section of downtown.

This is the first run for office for Bray-Ali, a former bicycle shop owner and bicycle advocate, who has for years dogged the councilman for his part in stopping dedicated bike lanes from being installed along a portion of Figueroa Street running from Highland Park to Cypress Park.

Throughout the campaign, Cedillo touted his work on homelessness, immigration, and infrastructure improvements such as new sidewalks, streetlights and traffic signals in the district and across the city. He pointed to “innovative programs” that resulted in the removal of hundreds of tons of trash and bulky items, which Mayor Garcetti later adapted for citywide use.

During the lead up to the March 7 primary, Bray-Ali repeatedly called for new leadership. He accused Cedillo of neglecting the first council district and being unresponsive to residents.

Longtime Chicano activist Rosalio Munoz and Cedillo supporter said Tuesday he believes many Cedillo supporters failed to show up to vote, thinking their candidate would skate to an easy win.

“That won’t happen again, we’re going to work on getting people to the polls in May,” he said.

“Councilman Cedillo has deep roots and understands the needs of this community, everyone in the community, not just the newcomers,” Munoz said.

In a statement emailed Tuesday to EGP, Bray-Ali said, “There’s a reason why a young challenger and outsider candidate made it to where we did.

“But this is about more than just an upstart candidacy. This is about basic municipal services and a responsive council office. If you live in our community there are problems you deal with on a daily basis,” he said.

“We need someone in this district who is focusing on issues big and small to provide competent management to the residents of CD1.”

For his part, Cedillo remained resolute and confident Tuesday, telling EGP that he “will continue to reach out to voters, unify our district, and continue the work we have been doing to make the First District #1.”

The runoff election will be held on May 16.

 

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