In light of recent revelations regarding online activities by City Council District 1 candidate Joe Bray-Ali, Bike the Vote L.A.’s election committee has reevaluated our endorsement. Many of us have known Joe as an impassioned champion for safe streets and a past member of Bike the Vote. Despite that, we cannot and will not ignore his hurtful, hateful, and misinformed comments that have been brought to light. For this reason we are rescinding our endorsement of Joe Bray-Ali for City Council.
Bicycle advocacy is about more than roadway engineering: it’s about communities and building an inclusive, welcoming city for everyone. The discriminatory statements made by Joe Bray-Ali concerning race, gender identity, and weight are unacceptable – and antithetical to the type of community we are building through political advocacy on safe streets.
Joe Bray-Ali’s comments have also adversely served to divide our group and our community of advocates. Some in our community stand by Joe, some are unable to support him, and some aren’t really sure what we as advocates should do in this tough situation. If we are to value all of our members, our partners, our allies, our friends, and our neighbors in the diverse communities of Los Angeles, we cannot let ambivalence get in the way of all that we’ve built. Further, we cannot operate as a unified group while continuing to support a candidate who makes divisive comments like the ones we’ve seen.
Safe streets advocates have accomplished a lot in this race. As a community, we worked hard to force a sitting councilmember into a run-off – a very rare feat. We’ve shown our organizing and fundraising power and have sent a clear message to City Hall: If you are a roadblock to safety, we will take you on and force you to defend your record. Our statement here is not an endorsement for incumbent Gil Cedillo, who to this day has declined to respond to our survey, has blocked projects that would make 1st District streets safer, and has shut us as advocates out of the decision making process. We will continue to work to hold him accountable to his voters and our community in the coming years – and we invite you to continue to work with us to make Los Angeles a safer, more livable, city.