“¡Ask a Mexican!” video stirs up the Council District 1 race

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

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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  1. I don’t get what is so bad about his question. He didn’t say “my Mexican neighbors” he said “my neighbors”! Besides that, it happens to be a true stereotype. My mexican neighbors tend to blow the horn when picking up someone across the street from me… with their phone in the other hand.

    • no, he was talking about mexicans. he was doing it in the spirit of the column, but don’t equivocate.

      i’m voting for joe – i voted for him once in the primary already, but it was right for him to apologize and really, really stupid that they didn’t take it down before cedillo’s team got it.

      even if i’m stuck with another six years of gil, i’ll be glad when this stupid goddamn election is over.

  2. This is all garbage politics, Gil is REALLY reaching here…a 9 year old Ask a Mexican video? Really?! No need to apologize, the only one who needs to apologize is Gil for being so slimy.

    Also we have been waiting 9 long years for an answer so I’d love if a Mexican can chime in and tell us.

  3. I mean… I’ve always wondered the same thing. Maybe while we’re at it, Gil can tell us why “trendy, hippy, hipsters” like juice bars, etc etc etc.

    All this demonstrates is that Joe Bray-Ali knows his district!

  4. I feel like the Times article this morning really represents what Joe said in the video out of context.

    It’s good that he apologized, since it might’ve upset some folks unfamiliar with Gustavo Arellano’s long-running column in the Weekly. But after watching what was actually said, this just seems like a silly distraction from much more pressing issues in Central/NELA.

    Cedillo must be a little scared if he has to play the race card, instead of just focusing on his record and policies.

    • Absolutely correct.

    • Indeed. Not the best video to have on Youtube in a majority Latino district, but the Times article glossed over the connection to Gustavo Arellano’s column, which makes a huge difference.

      • I agree 100%. Gustavo Arellano’s column is/was very irreverent and non-PC, but in my eyes, always very loving and respectful of Mexican-American culture. But in our society, for better or worse, outsiders just don’t have the same license to poke fun at another culture that insiders do.

  5. Ugh, is Cedillo so out of touch that he doesn’t even get the premise of the “Ask a Mexican” column? This doesn’t make Cedillo look good. I find it concerning that some of his colleagues on the city council are endorsing Joe Bray-Ali. It doesn’t speak highly of Cedillo that people he works with and knows aren’t supporting him……

  6. Time for change! Let’s get Joe in there and start moving towards a new LA!

  7. So telling Gil thinks this video is damning. Dude is looking pretty weak at this point. How much work did they put in turning up this video? Ha

  8. BIG QUESTION: The LA times reports that Cedillo sent the short version of the video out to the media for the smear, yet in Gustavo Arellano’s rebuke in the OC weekly he reports that Cedillo was part of a group that honored his column “Ask a Mexican” in 08 (when Joe’s video was made). This begs the question, did Cedillo pretend not to know what Joe’s clip was referencing when he sent it out to media outlets? SLIMEY.

  9. Gil really you are your way out and that’s all to it. Using what his daughter said is way below the belt. Went you are out of office collecting a good size pension maybe then you will understand how the tax payers got sick and tired of all your BS..

  10. With dirty Democrats like this who needs Republicans!
    As least Republicans stare you in the eye while stabbing you in the chest.
    These Machiavellian Garcetti Democrats hide behind their phony social issues while pretending to care for the common folk…then stab them in the back!
    At the end of the day its clear who their true constituents are, the the wealthy developer!

  11. Sergio Lamborghini

    Shame on Dakota Smith for just pushing Cedillo’s smear out verbatim rather than digging around a little to inform herself of what “Ask a Mexican” is if she didnt already know about the nationally syndicated column.

  12. Joe Bray-Ali is still a 10000000% better for HLP and NELA than Gil Cedillo.

    “¡Ask A Mexican!” to vote for Joe Bray-Ali!!!!

  13. The more I think about this the more I dislike Cedillo. If he doesn’t know that “Ask a Mexican” is a celebration of Mexican culture specifically and California’s unique diversity more broadly he is an idiot. If he does get that and is cynically trying to throw mud for political gain then he is nothing but a cynical politician which is NOT what we need more of.

    Cedillo had my support for a short time by standing up against council member Paul Koretz as Koretz tries to outlaw the building of granny flats as an affordable housing solution in low income and regular income areas but he blew it with this Ask a Mexican stunt.

  14. Gotta call from gil last night, I only wish I had set my cell phones DECLINE notification to ” nah- nah- nah – nah, nah- nah- nah- nah…..Hey- giiilllllll….Good-Byyyee! Instead of answering my phone, letting out a beer belch and hanging up.

  15. Yeah, yeah, yeah…so let’s get back to the real question: Why do Mexicans use their car horn as a doorbell?

  16. Interesting that Gil didn’t hear the racist remark (go back to India) made in his presence at the forum and only felt compelled to comment on it when he found something to twist into a racist remark made by Joe. FYI – some people do use the car horn as a doorbell and if you have a baby or you are a quiet person, that’s a problem. I think Joe was saying, please, I have a baby – help! It takes a village. I also think the people of LA CD1 need and deserve a leader who will work for them, all of them. Go Joe! And thank you, Gil, without your efforts to smear Joe, I would never have learned about this great website.

  17. Ask A Mexican, for the uniformed old people and people who don’t read the LAweekly(which is free) , is an irreverant colomn that disarms racial sterotypes and phobias by letting the forbidden words fly ,thusly empowering the message of diversity by exposing those racial words as ridiculous. Everyone who reads this column knows this. This is all Gil’s got?

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