Candidating Game

In all the fuss over the party primaries, it may be easy to forget that there are other elections, more local than even the downticket choices, that may have huge effects on our everyday lives. Who may be president is of obvious importance, as the advances made in economic and social equity, at great cost, during Barack Obama’s turn in office show. Senators also matter a great deal, to the state and to the country at large, and judges can affect the course of history.

But sometimes it is the littlest local races that determine whether our businesses succeed or fail, whether we live under a roof or under a tarp…or whether we live or die when trying to get to work or cross the street to the grocery.

Those of you who have been following this and other progressive transportation blogs in LA know that it is the City Council that has the greatest effect on street safety, local commerce, affordable housing, homelessness, and community spirit. Unfortunately, except in Huizar’s District 14 and a couple of others, the effect has been largely negative. Especially here in Council District 1, which encompasses Highland Park, Chinatown, Pico-Union, much of Echo Park and downtown, and more.

And since you are reading these lines, you probably know that Josef Bray-Ali, owner of Flying Pigeon LA and publisher of this blog, has decided to run against incumbent Gil Cedillo in the election next March.

Trust me, this is huge. City council policies directly affect your economic health, your family’s comfort, your very physical survival. The sad litany of road deaths on Figueroa alone testify to that. The overscale, overpriced developments starting to creep into NELA testify to that. The steadily growing ranks of the newly homeless testify to that.

Josef would work to reverse all that. You who know him know that he is responsiveness personified, even in commercial transactions when it costs him hard cash. You know he is a long-time resident of the District, with no carpetbag stowed in the closet. You know he knows city codes and city policies as few others do. You know he supports local businesses and affordable housing and safe streets, and supports them not only with speeches and photo ops, but with tireless community organizing. You may even know he has a background in community-friendly development. Far from being the “bike lane guy,” Josef is a renaissance man for local politics, and he would be possibly the best city council member of modern times.

But he can’t do it alone. He is not ready to take contributions on any scale yet, but he does need volunteers, or at least competent people willing to work cheap. Accountants, bookkeepers, canvassers, designers, phone crews, more. Go to the temporary website at and send in your name. (You might put a specialty in after your first name if you want.)

Josef will get ahold you when he is ready to rock and roll. The election is in March. We’ll need you soon.

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  1. […] Risemberg calls for volunteers to help out with Flying Pigeon owner Joseph Bray-Ali’s run for city council against anti-bike […]

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