Councilman Gil Cedillo. Photo by John Schreiber.

After winning a landslide victory in his reelection bid, City Councilman Gil Cedillo thanked his constituents Thursday for giving him another term representing the 1st Council District.

Cedillo crushed his opponent, Joe Bray-Ali, in Tuesday’s runoff election and received around 70 percent of the vote.

“You can expect for Team Cedillo to continue leading on affordable housing issues and tenant protections. As chair of the Housing Committee, I am committed to building the housing necessary to get us out of the ‘housing crisis,”‘ Cedillo said.

“We need to build 100,000 units of housing, and we have shown over the past four years that it will happen incrementally. Unit by unit, project by project, we will get it done, while at the same time doing all that we can to mitigate displacement,” he said.

Cedillo was forced into a runoff by his challenger, Joe Bray-Ali, after he fell just short of the 50 percent needed in the March primary. The 1st Council District includes Chinatown, Highland Park, Westlake and other northeast Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Bray-Ali initially looked like he was poised to give Cedillo a serious run for his money and perhaps be the first challenger to unseat an incumbent on the City Council since 2003. Even though he has never held elective office, the former bicycle shop owner and biking activist was boosted by the endorsements of the Los Angeles Times and Councilman Mitch O’Farrell.

However, Bray-Ali’s campaign became the focus of an extraordinary amount of negative press in late April when a series of racist and derogatory statements he had made online came to light. One of the posts included the racial slur known as the N-word, and others appeared to mock overweight people and the transgender community. He quickly lost the endorsements of O’Farrell and The Times.

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.

Bray-Ali at first apologized for remarks, then contended some of them were being taken out of context. He declined to pull out of the race.

In comments he made to supporters on Tuesday before the results were finalized, Bray-Ali did not address the controversy over his online comments but vowed to continue to oppose Cedillo.

“If I lose, I’m ready on day one to hold this S.O.B. accountable for every misstep, every false move, every idiotic proposal in City Council and moving forward, wherever (he) ends up,” he said.

Cedillo promised to focus on cleaning up his district, as well as focusing on building more housing.

“Our `Keep It Clean’ campaign has been successful at curbing illegally dumped furniture and trash throughout the district,” Cedillo said. “To date, we have collected over 800,000 tons of trash and kept 287 alleys that were once inaccessible, clear from clutter and dumping. Keeping our district clean is an ongoing struggle, and one we are committed to continuing tackling daily.”

–City News Service

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