Joe Bray-Ali or Gil Cedillo? Voters will decide tomorrow who will represent Council District 1

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

The tumultuous Council District 1 campaign ends tomorrow, Tuesday, May 16, when voters head to the polls to decide whether incumbent Gil Cedillo will remain in office or if cycling advocate and political newcomer Joe Bray-Ali should lead the Eastside district.

It’s been a heated race, with Cedillo calling Bray-Ali a “charlatan” and “fraud” while Bray-Ali has charged the incumbent’s campaign with numerous breaches of city ethics and campaign laws.

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. Polls will be open from 7 am to 8 pm.  Go here to look up your polling place and sample ballot.

During the runoff, the issues — from crime to gentrification and rising homelessness — have  been overshadowed by revelations about Bray-Ali’s online behavior as well as self-admitted personal and financial problems, which have undermined his campaign and cost him key endorsements from the L.A. Times.  Meanwhile,  Cedillo, the only City Council candidate who was forced into a runoff this year, has had to deal with being characterized as an unpopular and indifferent councilman backed by billboard companies and big developers.

The race for Council District 1 — which was created 30 years ago as part of efforts to create Latino-majority district — has also been portrayed a symbol of the tensions and divides caused by the gentrification of the district, especially in neighborhoods like Cypress Park, Highland Park, Lincoln Heights and Mount Washington.

“CD1 (like CD14 and CD13) is rapidly changing as youthful hipsters/millennials colonize the eastside together with developers looking for redevelopment opportunities,” said  Antonio Gonzalez, President of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project. “The elderly Chican@ homeowner class is beginning to exit the stage either through death or relocation to greener pastures (ie suburbs). This new blend created unforeseen challenges for Cedillo.”

In the background, the flow of political contributions grew stronger during the runoff for both candidates, though Cedillo remains a wide financial lead.  Total contributions — for the primary and runoff campaign — amounted to about $135,000 for Bray-Ali and nearly $800,000 for Cedillo through May 10, according to the L.A. Ethics Commission.  Independent expenditures made by individuals or groups not controlled by the campaign totaled about $78,000 for Bray-Ali and approximately $564,000 for Cedillo.

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