Los Angeles

Cedillo Keeps LA City Council Seat

Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedillo won another term representing the 1st District, easily outpacing a challenger whose campaign started brightly but quickly faded thanks to revelations of questionable internet posts condemned by critics as derogatory and racially insensitive.

Cedillo jumped to a commanding early lead when a tally of early ballots was released, and his lead grew progressively as the vote-counting continued, extending his lead over bike shop owner/activist Joe Bray-Ali.

Cedillo narrowly missed winning re-election outright in the March primary, falling just short of the 50 percent plus one vote threshold needed to avoid the runoff.

Bray-Ali turned heads when he forced Cedillo into the runoff because he never held elective office, and no incumbent has been beaten in a City Council election since 2003.

Bray-Ali picked up more momentum when he received the endorsements of the Los Angeles Times and Councilman Mitch O'Farrell.

However, Bray-Ali lost both endorsements in late April when a series of racist and derogatory statements he had made online came to light. One of the posts included the racial slur known as the N-word, and others that appeared to mock overweight people and the transgender community.

Following the revelations, Bray-Ali was denounced by numerous civil rights and LGBT leaders in Los Angeles, and seven City Council members called for him to drop out of the race.

Bray-Ali at first apologized for remarks, then contended some of the remarks were being taken out of context. He declined to pull out. Cedillo had a long list of endorsements, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, eight City Council members, Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California.

The 1st Council District includes Chinatown, Highland Park, Westlake and other northeast Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, the 7th District race between Monica Rodriguez and Karo Torossian was much closer, with fewer than 100 votes separating the candidates.

The 7th Council District includes includes Sunland-Tujunga, Mission Hills, Pacoima and other neighborhoods in the northeast San Fernando Valley.

Rodriguez and Torossian are facing off for an open seat, which was vacated by Felipe Fuentes last year when he resigned to take a job as a lobbyist.

Rodriguez and Torossian emerged from a 20-candidate field in the primary. Rodriguez is a former Public Works commissioner who has also worked as an aide for some past council members, while Torossian is the director of planning and the environment for Councilman Paul Krekorian.

The race has become a showdown between two City Hall insiders, with Torossian receiving Krekorian's endorsement, while Rodriguez has been endorsed by Garcetti, who appointed her to the Board of Public Works.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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