The candidates — well, at least one of them — weigh in on issues facing Council District 1

Joe Bray-Ali (left) and Gil Cedillo | Courtesy candidate campaigns

The spotlight has strayed far from the issues in the Council District 1 runoff. Much of the attention has been focused on the online behavior and personal problems of newcomer Joe Bray-Ali as well as the unpopularity of incumbent councilman Gil Cedillo.  Now, with the May 16 election less than a week away, it’s a good time to find out where the candidates stand on the issues  — or at least try.

We asked the candidates earlier this year during the primary election to respond to questions related to some important issues facing the district. While Bray-Ali responded, Cedillo did not. The Eastsider offered the Cedillo campaign another opportunity to respond to the trio questions for the runoff. Again, there was no response.

While decidedly one-sided, here’s what the candidates had to say about three of the issues facing Council District 1:

What’s your plan for reducing traffic congestion and improving safety? As an example, do you favor ‘road diets’ such as the one placed on Rowena Avenue is Silver Lake?

Joe Bray-Ali:

Some of the deadliest intersections in Los Angeles are right here in the 1st District.

Our current council leader has misspent scarce street safety dollars on marquee projects that do not deliver the kind of comprehensive transportation planning reform Los Angeles needs. In the 1st District, Vision Zero LA is a broken promise to stack with all the rest.

In contrast, I have spent the past decade organizing, researching, and (in some cases) protesting for safe streets.

Transit system user experience requires special attention. Sidewalks and curb ramps around bus stops and schools need repairs first. Bus stops need benches, trashcans, and shelter. Our train stations must have clean and accessible public bathrooms.

The 1st District should have bicycle superhighways that connect the San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Valley with Downtown L.A., and Pico Union and MacArthur Park with Mid-City and Downtown. Cynical political games have prevented these connections from being made.

I support road diets because the Federal Highway Administration has proven that properly implemented road diets can make a street safer for all road users without compromising the travel times of car drivers.

Going door-to-door for months now, I can verify that people in this district are hungry for new leadership and for safer streets. You can expect both if I am elected.

Gil Cedillo:

The candidate did not respond to the question.

The number of homeless in L.A. has only been going up, and Angelenos have reacted with a mixture of sympathy, disdain and impatience. How do we stem – or at least manage – this rising tide?

Joe Bray-Ali:

First, direct assistance to groups and agencies providing aid to those on the streets.

Second, raising everyone’s standard of living with legal places to go to the bathroom or take a shower.

Third, coordinated work with public agencies, NGOs, and neighborhood groups to do more than shuffle people from one back alley to another.

Long term, the construction of supportive housing and small shelters across the city and unlocking affordable housing options (both publicly subsidized housing, small secondary units, and assistance to co-operatives and land trusts).

Contrast this approach to the press-release hype-based “advocacy” we’ve gotten in CD1 the past four years.

Gil Cedillo:

The candidate did not respond to the question.

How do we ease the housing crunch without crowding ourselves or losing too much of our local character? As an example, do you favor Measure S*, which targets development?

Joe Bray-Ali:

Angelenos are presented with a false choice with Measure S. On the one hand, they can punish a corrupt pay-to-play political system that churns out luxury condos; on the other, a moratorium would amplify our crisis and throw a wrench in a machine we hope to drive straight. We should be building along major boulevards, not the last of our open hillsides, and not McMultifamily abominations.

I support permitting accessory dwelling units and directing affordable housing funding to tenants associations.

We must focus on the visible and numerable vacant lots on our old streetcar thoroughfares. Alvarado, 6th, 7th, North Figueroa, Cypress, North Broadway have vacant lots with early 20th century buildings still used, and loved, by the community. Development of this scale has proven to build safe streets and strong neighborhoods.

Gil Cedillo:

The candidate did not respond to the question.

* Measure S was defeated by the voters in the March 7 election

The general election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 16. Council District 1 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


  1. It’s been pretty apparent for quite some time now, how head over heels in love with Joe Bray-Ali the Eastsider is. I think The Eastsider needs to come clean and disclose how many staffers are actively involved with racist bicycle boy’s campaign.

    • “staffers” lol it’s one dude and a handful of kids w comms degrees working for pennies.

      and a questionnaire like this is a totally valid thing to do. go home dude.

  2. I’m impressed with Bray-Ali’s answers. I’m impressed that he answered the questions. It is weird that Cedillo didn’t respond but it is certainly in line with one of the biggest constituent complaints about Cedillo that he and his staff never respond…….

  3. Kennedy fooled around. Was a great president. Clinton made some stupid decisions in his personal life. Was a good president. Bray Ali has had a personal wild ride and made some morally stupid decisions. Will make a good councilman. Typical Cedillo is MIA. I’m voting for change in the community, not voting to make anyone saint. Cedillo could have easily responded to these questions. He’s never available and neither are his staffers!!!!

    • you act like screwing around is bray-ali’s only sin. he’s stolen 40k of taxpayer money, shamed trans people, posted on a forum w the n word in the title, signed a barely legible agreement to sell out his core consituents. cedillo is a lot of awful things, but he’s got a level temperament and decent sense of judgment.

      • Cedillo is hardly without sin, and if the public knew as much about him as they do about Joe, then Joe would still be the better person. Joe has explained and apologized, and remains dedicated to serving the neighborhood. Cedillo comes out of the woodwork to protect his pension but otherwise does nothing to serve daily needs of constituents.

        • Prove it. Cedillo’s held elected office for decades and has run in a bunch of contested elections. All of them were covered by the Times (who’s never endorsed him), the LA Weekly, LAist, etc. If there was any kind of semi-provable dirt on Cedillo, it would probably have surfaced by now. “I’m sure there’s something bad we don’t know about him” isn’t a credible way to disqualify a candidate.

      • Kermit, since you seem like you really care that Cedillo get re-elected or that Bray-Ali not, perhaps you can explain to a relatively new CD1 resident (about 1 year) what he’s done for the district that he’s worth supporting. Do you have any information that could help dispel the reputation that Cedillo doesn’t respond to his constituents or is your only issue of Bray-Ali’s character concerns?

        • Cedillos office responded to me quickly about a house that was a fire hazard.

        • I’m actually not a fan of Cedillo’s either. I voted for Bray Ali in the primaries. For me and my neighbors, Cedillo’s office has been terrible at responding to local issues. They’re slow, disinterested and ineffective. I think he was totally wrong on the bike lane issue. Most improvements to CD1 have come around in the last 6 months as he looks to shore up his local support. He says he’s learned his lesson and wants to make his office more responsive, but I really doubt that.

          All that said, I really don’t trust Bray-Ali’s judgment as a potential City Council member. The last couple months have made it really clear that he’s still the same mercurial pseudo-troll he was back when Cedillo first took office. CD1 deserves better than both of them.

  4. After reading through his responses and some further consideration I now support Bray-Ali. That he is in favor of allowing accessory dwelling units is massively important. Because land and construction costs are so expensive in Los Angeles perhaps the only way to build truly affordable housing is by building small backyard accessory dwelling units. This is because people building the ADU’s or granny flats already own the land and plumbing and electrical services already run to the lot.

    Unfortunately most council members seem headed to do exactly what Paul Koretz and his Bel Air constituents want and limit the size of ADU’s to only 650 square feet and to ban them from 1/3 of single family lots by banning them from all so called “hillside” lots. The hillside lot ban would be felt disproportionately on the eastside of LA where large areas are labeled hillside by the city but in reality aren’t hilly or on winding streets at all.

    If we don’t want all of our lower income neighbors to have to move to Palmdale we need affordable housing solutions and ADU’s represent one of many needed solutions, Unfortunately rich people don’t want ADU’s in their neighborhoods and until we start voting in the right people the only people who have a voice in local politics are the rich.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Cedillo totally into ADUs? He was a strong supporter of SB 1069.

      • If Cedillo had bothered to answer the questions we might know for sure…..

        But you might be right. Cedillo is one of the few council members I’ve noticed who doesn’t just go along with what Koretz and Ryu and their wealthy constituents want which is placing as many hurdles up to the building of ADU’s whether those hurdles comply with state law or not.

        The decision between these two candidates is a tough one and seeing Cedillo stand up to Koretz and his lackey Ryu is the one thing that has me going back and forth between him and Bray-Ali. I very much don’t like how Bray-Ali participated in those racist discussion forums. That is the worst to me but I also don’t like how he didn’t forward the sales tax he collected to the state.

  5. This is not surprising at all. The first time these questions came around I was very impressed by Joe’s responses. Unfortunately, I think the damage has been done and fair amount of folks are scared off by Bray-Ali’s personal woe’s or just won’t vote altogether out of election fatigue. It is sad that scandal-based elections have become the norm in this country. I just wish cedillo spent as much time addressing his district as he did digging up dirt on his opponent. For what it’s worth, Joe still has my vote.

    • Bray-Ali’s participation in those forums were initially a dealbreaker for me, but I’m starting to come around to the realization that the guy is flawed, but he appears to have a track record of caring about community issues and also appears to have the thoughtfulness and energy to bring real changes for the community. Further, he expresses himself well and appears to be well versed in the different positions he holds. If only he put that much thought into perhaps abstaining from those forums…

  6. Yup, this just solidifies why I hate Cedillo as much as he hates his constituents. I will still vote for Joe, and MAY even urge others to do the same.

  7. The Main Spoon

    Im not sure which chin to vote for . . . I cant wait for this to be over!

  8. Had a neighbor who was a hoarder and whose house was a fire hazard. Complained to Cedillos office and they got on it immediately. I don’t agree with his politics but he’s got my vote.

  9. The primary reason I cannot support Bray-Ali anymore relates to the sales tax issue. He collected sales tax from his customers and held that in trust as it was due to the people of the State of California and did not remit those taxes. That is theft, he stole money from the taxpayers and constantly complains about lack of services in the District. It costs real money to provide services and he straight up stole from the taxpayers, I can’t believe there isn’t a law against this. Also this is not being late on your personal taxes this is failure to remit sales tax collected from customers he lied to his customers and cheated the citizens of California.

  10. Political Observer

    Q: How much do you owe in unpaid taxes?

    Bray-Ali: $48,000, the last time I looked.

    Cedillo: The candidate did not respond to the question.

    Q: CD1 is one of the most diverse constituencies in Los Angeles. Have you ever made comments that are offensive to people of color, LGBT, or women?

    Bray-Ali: Umm, please don’t read my VOAT and REDDIT comments, even though I used the same name there as for my twitter and myspace.

    Cedillo: The candidate did not respond to the question.

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