Newly elected First District councilman Gil Cedillo to focus on jobs

Gil Cedllo/Derek Humphrey/Flickr

By Tony Cella

After winning the Council District 1 seat in the May 21 runoff, former state lawmaker Gil Cedillo plans on making public safety and job growth the hallmarks of his upcoming term.

Cedillo, who declined to be interviewed directly by The Eastsider, will “improve the basic quality of life” by upgrading public safety measures, bringing in affordable housing and piggy-backing  on the revitalization in Downtown L.A., according to campaign assistant Jennifer Rivera. She said the councilman-elect, whose district stretches from Highland Park and Mt. Washington to Lincoln Heights and Angeleno Heights, will use his connections with business leaders and labor unions to bring good paying jobs to the district, which is the third poorest.

“Anything [that] brings good paying jobs will be carefully looked at,” Rivera said.

Rivera said the councilman elect  picked Arturo Chavez, a former district director for Cedillo during his time in the state senate, as his council chief of staff. The rest of his staff picks are unknown at this point.  Chavez did not comment at this time.

Cedillo defeated  Jose Gardea, Chief of Staff for current First District Councilman Ed Reyes,  in a costly race marked by large amounts of independent expenditures, which are not limited by city rules, that were poured into the campaign by employee unions, billboard companies and other business interests. The most recent tally compiled by the City Ethics Commission showed that the Cedillo campaign and its allies spent more than $1.6 million to win the race.

While Gardea has won the support of many neighborhood activists and groups and an L.A. Times endorsement,  Cedillo won the backing of the political establishment and focused on the need to bring more jobs to the district.

Cedillo promised to reach out to the community to ensure development is responsible, which, according to the staff member, Cedillo defines as a process where all parties abide by the city codes and “does not infringe on the quality of life” in the neighborhood. The councilman-elect has a history of bringing groups together, said Rivera, which he will continue during discussions on development, which will likely include plans by Barlow Hospital to build at least 600 housing units on its Echo Park property.

“Not everyone will be happy,” Rivera said. “A good project is when everyone leaves a bit unhappy and a bit happy.”

Cedillo, who supported immigration reform, including the DREAM Act,  will continue addressing the issue on the city council.

Cedillo’s campaign generated controversy after billboard companies, which are embroiled in a dispute with the city over digital billboards and super graphics, supported his candidacy. Rivera said her boss was not ready to comment on the issue. She went on to say that the  councilman-elect had no control over the independent political groups, backed in part by outdoor advertisers. They will receive “no favors” or “special treatment” because of their support, she said.

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Tony Cella is a freelance reporter who has covered crime and grime in Los Angeles, New York City and the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska.  Click here to contact Cella with questions, comments or concerns.


  1. No favors and no special treatment? YEAH RIGHT!!! HAHAHA Lie to yourself all you want, but don’t patronize me with your idiotic platitudes!

  2. Hey Putz….What’s with not doing an interview with the Eastsider?

  3. I predict a loooooooonnng four years for Cedillo & company.

  4. A lot of this rhetoric is cribbed from, basically, anyone running for public office in the late 20th century. “Jobs and growth” is not in line with the mandates of reality – peak oil, climate change (manmade or not, it’s happening), financial austerity to feed Wall Street. You don’t “jobs” your way out of this scenario. I hope he can come up with a more practical vision beyond a corpratist “left” vision of progress.

  5. This is not the sign of a good term…more like a fast food restaurant!

    “Not everyone will be happy,” Rivera said. “A good project is when everyone leaves a bit unhappy and a bit happy.”

    here comes the 710 and the Barlow Condo mess…..


  6. The story is inaccurate in many ways. Lamar Advertising is no CBS Clear Channel. It is a much smaller company. The city problem with the billboards was with CBS Clear Channel and not Lamar. And, the city attorney won in court on that issue. So, that was not an non-issue. Still those that wanted to mislead voters tried to make it an issue.

    Money was not an issue in this campaign just like it was not an issue in the Mayor campaign either. The reason it was not an issue is because the few voters that voted voted on the issues and not because of money that was used to try to sway voters. Voters were not swayed by the money. Voters this time knew the issues and voted only on the issues. That is a welcome change. All the money in the world would not have changed the outcome. The mayor’s race was a good evidence of that.

    CD1 is one of the poorest areas. Good jobs and businesses were never brought into the area. And, it is one of the dirtiest areas in the city. Northeast LAPD went without a neighborhood prosecutor for 3 years. Councilmember Ed Reyes did nothing to improve the district in 12 years. His employee, Jose, would probly have done the same thing. He worked for Councilmember Reyes 12 years and voters could see what kind of job he did. Voters did not want another 12 years of that. Proof of that is that Councilmember Ed Reyes did not even campaign for him. Voters voted on the issues, bottom line.

    Arthuro Chavez is a great choice for council chief of staff. He knows the district. He will be a very valuable person to CD1. Already things are looking up for CD1. I think the Eastsider needs to give a more balanced story.

    • Susan, you are totally out of bounds with your comments. Councilman Reyes was an advocate of the people and the community of CD1 for the 12 years he served. If your point about Gardea not being elected being a reflection of the CD1 constituents unfavorable view of Reyes, then why was he re-elected in the first place?

      The bottom line is that money won this election. The community was behind Gardea; yet, Cedillo had the backing of big business behind him. No matter how you want to spin this, CD1 is not better off with Cedillo in the drivers’ seat. My hope is that he does not undo all the great work Councilman Reyes put forth to better the communities of CD1….that being said, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    • Susan (aka nonoise),

      CBS Outdoor also paid for/donated a significant amount of billboard space for Cedillo. They didn’t get in the game until the weeks before the runoff, but nonetheless, they saw a candidate who they think will act in their favor. So, Susan, we can just forget your first paragraph.

      Also, Eastsider: That’s not what Gil Cedillo looks like.

    • Susan, you are dead wrong about Jose Gardea. I have never seen you at community clean ups,plantings,neighborhood meetings, other than HHPNC. BTW, when they(HHPNC) plan events,where everybody lends a hand, I never see you lending a hand. Jose has been engaged with all of the events that have truly made a difference in the community, and the quality of life,here. You are a chronic complainer. I hope Gil Cedillo has promised you that he will put an end to your misery with the church bells. Right. That’s gonna happen. Hahaha. Maybe your buddy Jesse Rosas will help you. Wouldn’t he have already helped you? Give it up,girl.

  7. What staff member of Cedillo wrote the talking post for Susan R’s comment….
    Hey “Putz”, do you really think we are all going to fall your your con job.

  8. Arturo Chavez a good selection for Chief of Staff? Another untrustworthy politician that would bring a different kind of “Dream Act” to El Sereno. He and his boss want that tunnel dug and the so called jobs they promised to constituents during this race is a sham. Chavez even has a home in El Sereno and can’t or won’t even manage to protect his own community. Money matters a great deal here and Gl Cedillo and his staff have told people that meet him that he will do that project or this project or not. Whatever suits the moment is how he maneuvers through public meetings and personal conversations.

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