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

Apr 20, 2017

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 Arrellano of the OC Weekly. But Ali’s question — posed 9 years ago in a YouTube video — has landed 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. Bray-Ali called on the council member to denounce a racist comment made during a heated campaign debate Monday night in Westlake. 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.”

Arellano also took to task both candidates, their campaigns and their supporters:

“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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