Los Angeles’ First District needs a representative who is compatible with the needs and concerns of its residents; an individual with the background to work in a very large area populated by a huge Latino community and low- and middle-income people.
That person is Councilman Gil Cedillo.
This election will bring face to face the vastly different vision for the area of Cedillo and his main rival, Joe Bray-Ali.
A realistic, down-to-earth point of view is needed at this politically complicated time for the immigrant community, when significant challenges remain to be solved to ensure the growth of the district. One of those challenges is the lack of housing.
Cedillo is the City Council’s leading voice for immigrants at a time when the raids carried out by the Donald Trump government are generating fear. The councilman has the credibility on this issue to respond to such anxiety.
This concern for sectors with fewer resources is reflected in his work in defense of tenants. The councilman is a leader who was able to pass measures protecting the rights of those who rent housing, from living conditions to eviction.
California’s Ellis Act is responsible for the disappearance of rental homes, by catering to the wishes of landlords who want to sell their properties. Cedillo intervened when abusive owners were using the law to take advantage of people who did not know their rights when they were being evicted.
He established a registry to at least keep tally of rent stabilized units and learn the magnitude of the housing crisis. He also favors the construction of housing, and promotes changes to help transform garages and other facilities into housing units.
His main rival, Joe Bray-Ali, may be an interesting candidate for a different moment and place. Bray-Ali’s passion for green transport and bicycles, his desire for change and his budgeting knowledge do not compensate for his ignorance regarding important areas of the district and its population.
It must be clarified that being Latino it is not a requirement to adequately represent the First District. However, the position requires a minimal amount of familiarity, which is gained through a direct knowledge of the Latino community, representing 75% of the district. Bray-Ali does not possess it.
In addition, he lacks the commitment with the low-income community that Cedillo has shown on specific topics such as housing. Bray-Ali also has no city council experience or an understanding of Latinos that is obtained through years of working on the community’s priorities.
The councilman deserves to be reelected. Still, he has time during a second term to improve the amount of attention he gives to a very large district comprising contrasting neighborhoods. In our mind, there is no question that he can do it.
The councilman is the most fitting person to represent the interests of the residents of the First District. Vote for Gil Cedillo!