Joe-Bray Ali is one of the many people who have submitted questions over the years to “¡Ask A Mexican!,” a long-running, tongue-in-cheek column by Gustavo Arellano of the OC Weekly. But his question — posed 9 years ago in a YouTube video — has landed Bray-Ali in hot water as he runs against incumbent Gil Cedillo in the Council District 1 race.
On Wednesday, the Bray-Ali campaign apologized for the video clip in which the candidate holds his daughter up to the camera and asks: “Dear Mexican, I’d like to know why all my neighbors think the doorbell is their car horn. They wake up my baby.”
The L.A. Times reports that the video clip was distributed by the Cedillo campaign after Bray-Ali asked the councilman to denounce a comment made during a raucous campaign debate on Monday night. A person in the audience yelled out “Go back to India.” Bray-Ali’s father, Saeed Ali, is an Indian immigrant who has worked as a top aide to several Latino politicians.
Cedillo, who said he did not hear the comment during the debate, later denounced the remark. “I know from personal experience how hateful remarks can hurt,” the councilman said in a statement published by the Times. “That is why I would like Mr. Bray-Ali to explain remarks he made on a YouTube video on March 9, 2008.”
Bray-Ali apologized for the “stupid” comment, his campaign manager told the Times.
But today, Arellano of the O.C. Weekly weighed in on the topic. Some Cedillo supporters say the video is an example of Bray-Ali’s racism. But Arellano said that since Bray-Ali’s question was directed at him as part of the column, “that dramatically changes the dynamics of the story.” He saw no need for Bray-Ali to apologize.” Fuck Bray-Ali for apologizing and taking back his question—implies what you did was wrong, which it wasn’t.”
Arellano also took Cedillo and his campaign to task as well as supporters on both sides:“Everyone involved: don’t use my column for your pathetic needs. Take a deep breath, and concentrate on issues that matter in District 1, like housing affordability and the fact that Highland Park is overrated.”
The runoff election is scheduled for May 16. The First Council District includes all or portions of Angeleno Heights, Cypress Park, Echo Park, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Lincoln Heights and Mount Washington. Don’t Know What District You Are In? Go Here
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