Joe Bray-Ali. Photo:
Joe Bray-Ali. Photo:

Joe Bray-Ali’s campaign to unseat Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo in the May 16 runoff election received a significant boost Thursday when Councilman Mitch O’Farrell threw his support behind the challenger.

O’Farrell’s 13th Council District shares a long border with Cedillo’s 1st Council District in northeast Los Angeles, and the two have worked together over the last few years on a comprehensive plan to revitalize the L.A. River.

Bray-Ali is a political novice, while Cedillo served a long stint in the state Legislature before being elected to his seat on the City Council in 2013.

“Joe has what it takes to serve on the Los Angeles City Council. He not only has a strong background in the private sector running a small business, but also has experience in the public service arena. He is passionate about the community on every level and will be an independent voice at City Hall. These qualities will be a welcome addition to our legislative body,” O’Farrell said.

Bray-Ali forced Cedillo into a runoff when the councilman failed to get the required 50 percent in the March 7 primary, falling just short with 49.34 percent of the vote, or about 140 less than he needed. Bray-Ali, a bicycle activist and former bike shop owner, finished with 37.97 percent of the vote and received the endorsement of the Los Angeles Times.

“I am inspired by Mitch. Having his support in my bid for City Council is truly an honor, and a validation that our campaign is building a progressive movement that will be welcomed by other members of our council ready to tackle the issues facing our city and respective districts,” Bray-Ali said. “I look forward to working with a colleague notable for keeping his campaign promises and providing a responsive council office to the legitimate needs of constituents.”

Cedillo has his fair share of endorsements, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, Council President Herb Wesson, and fellow City Council members Curren Price, Paul Krekorian, Nury Martinez and David Ryu. He also has received the endorsement of his predecessor, Ed Reyes, Gov. Jerry Brown, Sen. Kamala Harris, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez.

A spokeswoman for Cedillo’s campaign did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

A successful challenge to Cedillo would be a significant upset to a system that heavily favors incumbents. All five other incumbents in the March election for City Council easily bested their challengers and avoided a runoff – – with Councilman Bob Blumenfield also winning unopposed — and no incumbent has lost a seat to a challenger since 2003, when former Assembly speaker and future Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unseated an incumbent.

O’Farrell’s endorsement was also a rare public expression of disunity on the City Council, which has largely voted unanimously on major issues in recent months and is generally free from squabbles or arguments during public meetings.

“Joe Bray-Ali understands the issues facing Los Angeles and demonstrates a sense of urgency in addressing the affordable housing crises, safety in our neighborhoods, and responsiveness to constituent needs,” O’Farrell said.

“His positive grassroots campaign has motivated more people to participate in the democratic process at the local level and become engaged in the pressing issues that affect Angelenos. This city faces daunting challenges and we need someone like Joe to bring a fresh perspective, new ideas and an open mind to decision-making for our city.”

—City News Service


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