Los Angeles voters Tuesday will decide a pair of City Council races, including one that grabbed headlines thanks to a candidate’s series of derogatory Internet posts deemed to be racist and homophobic.
Both of the races are runoff elections since no candidate in either contest received at least 50 percent of the vote in the March 7 primary.
In the 1st Council District, which includes Chinatown, Highland Park, Westlake and other northeast L.A. neighborhoods, challenger Joe Bray-Ali turned heads after forcing incumbent Gil Cedillo into the runoff because he has never held elective office, and no incumbent has been beaten in a City Council election since 2003.
Bray-Ali pulled in 37.97 percent of the vote, while Cedillo finished with 49.34 percent. The challenger then got a boost when he received the endorsements of the Los Angeles Times and City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell.
But Bray-Ali lost both endorsements in late April when a series of racist and derogatory statements he had made online came to light. Following the revelations, Bray-Ali was denounced by numerous civil rights and LBGT leaders in Los Angeles, and seven City Council members also called for him to drop out of the race.
Bray-Ali at first apologized for remarks, then contended some of the remarks were being taken out of context. He declined to pull out.
Cedillo has a long list of endorsements, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, eight City Council members, Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.
In the 7th Council District, which includes includes Sunland-Tujunga, Mission Hills, Pacoima and other neighborhoods in the northeast San Fernando Valley, Monica Rodriguez and Karo Torossian are facing off for an open seat, which was vacated by Felipe Fuentes last year when he stepped down to take a job as a lobbyist.
Rodriguez and Torossian emerged from a packed primary race that had 20 candidates. Rodriguez is a former Public Works commissioner who has also worked as an aide for some past council members, while Torossian works for City Councilman Paul Krekorian as his director of planning and the environment.
The race has become a showdown between two City Hall insiders, with Torossian receiving the endorsement of his boss, Krekorian, while Rodriguez has been endorsed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, who appointed her to her former seat on the Board of Public Works.
—City News Service
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