Council District 1 candidate Joe Bray-Ali was hit today by the political fallout from revelations that he had posted comments on several controversial online forums. 13th District Councilman Mitch O’Farrell withdrew his endorsement made only three weeks ago in the race between Bray-Ali and incumbent Gil Cedillo, and the L.A. Times, in a rare move, also rescinded its support.
It is rare for a member of the L.A. City Council to endorse a candidate seeking to unseat an incumbent council member. Relations between O’Farrell and Cedillo, whose districts share a common border, have been strained at times, and the Bray-Ali endorsement probably did not help matters. “This city faces daunting challenges and we need someone like Joe to bring a fresh perspective, new ideas, and an open mind to decision making for our city,” O’Farrell said in his endorsement earlier this month.
O’Farrell had initially said he would stand by his endorsement after Bray-Ali apologized for the comments, the L.A. Times reported. But this morning O’Farrell had changed his position and issued a statement withdrawing his endorsement:“I saw in Joe Bray-Ali a person with deep roots in the 1st district, a passion for public service, and an independent approach to addressing the challenges facing Los Angeles…but I am deeply disappointed by his highly insensitive comments in online forums that breed hate and dehumanize already marginalized communities. People that I love and care about are hurt by these comments. There is no place for this type of speech anywhere, especially in the City of Angels, and I am concerned he has compromised his ability to be an effective leader. Therefore I can no longer support Joe Bray-Ali for Los Angeles City Council.”
The L.A. Times editorial board this afternoon followed suit, saying:
“The revelations are so deeply disturbing — raising serious questions about both his judgment and his character — that The Times has re-evaluated its original position. For the first time in recent memory, the editorial board is officially rescinding its endorsement.”
The Times endorsement during the primary election was a big win for Bray-Ali, whose campaign lagged far behind Cedillo in fundraising but still managed to force the incumbent councilman into a runoff. The Times did not indicate whether it would endorse Cedillo in light of today’s decision.
Earlier today, the East Area Progressive Democrats also withdrew its support for Bray-Ali. “However puzzling and out of character his previous statements are, they undercut the candidate’s claim of readiness to represent all the people of our diverse Eastside neighborhoods,” the group said in a statement.
Last week, Bray-Ali apologized for a nine-year-old YouTube video clip in which he posed a question to the “¡Ask A Mexican!” column.
The Cedillo campaign has scheduled a press conference this morning to denounce Bray-Ali’s comments.
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
This story has been updated with news of the L.A. Times withdrawing its endorsement
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