To Senator Sanders:
We write this letter to ask that you rescind any endorsement of and support for Gilbert Cedillo, the incumbent Los Angeles City Councilmember for District 1 running for reelection in 2022. We were disappointed to see your Tweet and Facebook posts in February 2021 stating your support for his bid for reelection, alongside a photo of endorsement. While Cedillo had once been a champion for immigrant rights on the statewide-level in the early 2000s, his decade-long tenure as a city councilmember has unfortunately done little to listen to, or fight for, “the working people [who] built Los Angeles.” Instead, Cedillo’s prioritization of developers over tenants, and profit over people has worsened the very conditions that continue to harm the working people and communities of color in CD1.
Cedillo’s record as City Councilmember, and as Chair of the Los Angeles City Council’s Housing Committee, has detrimentally affected low-income working people, tenants, immigrants, seniors, and unhoused people in his district. Specifically, Cedillo has actively enabled the very gentrification process that continues to push out and displace his district’s residents.
Chinatown, a neighborhood in his district facing rapid changes at his hand, was over 90% immigrant, over 90% tenant, and almost a quarter seniors as of 2013. In one such deal with developers, Cedillo approved a project for Atlas Capital Group, a New York-based real estate company, to build 725 units in Chinatown with zero units of affordable housing in 2019 (called College Station). Cedillo not only ignored the Mayor’s recommendation to set aside 5% of the building’s units for very-low-income tenants, he also ignored previous plans to mark 20% of the building for senior affordable housing. He also ignored demands from community-based organization, Chinatown Community for Equitable Development to support low-income tenants and seniors in the neighborhood. In a more recent example, Cedillo has not moved fast enough on the urgent calls for the health, safety, and upkeep of Cathay Manor in the pandemic, which is a 16-story building for low-income seniors with broken elevators, inconsistent hot water, and roach infestation. Alerted to the issues in September 2021, and promising a 48-hour turn around in October 2021, the elevators had yet to be fixed as of January 2022, effectively stranding seniors, some of whom rely on walkers for mobility. The building should not be in its extensive state of disrepair and neglect, nor should the waitlist for affordable housing be thousands of people long in the neighborhood.
Cedillo has also facilitated the displacement of the unhoused community in his district and the city. As Los Angeles was transitioning from being the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2021, Cedillo banned overnight parking for RVs and other oversized vehicles in Echo Park, Glassell Park, Highland Park, and Lincoln Heights. Such vehicles are often used by people priced out of the neighborhood as shelter; towing their car further places folks in precarious housing situations. Additionally, as a supporter of 41.18, an ordinance that criminalizes homelessness and bans the sitting, sleeping, lying, or storing of property within 500 feet of a school, park, or library, Cedillo “rehabilitated” the south side of MacArthur Park in October 2021. Though some unhoused members have been “moved indoors,” large questions remain regarding access to permanent housing, as well as long term affordable housing in the neighborhood.
While we could highlight many more concerns, we raise Cedillo’s lack of commitment to bike safety as a last issue. Once nicknamed “Road Kill Gil,” Cedillo has also been against implementing strong bike safety in the district, starting with the city’s mobility plan. History of Spring Street Bridge for example, shows that from 2018 to 2021, bike advocates in the district were misled about striping bike lanes twice; a public records request in 2022 revealed that Cedllio had bike lanes removed from the construction contract.
The district and the city cannot risk another term under Cedillo. We deserve a candidate like Eunisses Hernandez who centers the needs of working class people in her history of work in the area and in her future agenda. Her platform includes housing for all through deeply affordable housing, investment in public services infrastructure instead of incarceration, environmental justice through more green spaces, and neighborhood-level care that meets the needs of the community.
Hernandez, the daughter of immigrants, not only grew up in CD1, but has been a longtime advocate for social protections that challenge the violence of poverty. She has been a dynamic leader on the county-level, with a read on the pulse of the moment. Hernandez has championed important measures that divest from mass incarceration and reinvest millions of dollars into community-based services, housing, and support for young people.
For these reasons and more, DSA-LA has endorsed Eunisses Hernandez and our base of folks who canvassed so passionately for Bernie in 2020 now do the same for Hernandez for CD1 in 2022. We urge you to rescind your support of Cedillo and instead back a real champion for the people, Eunisses Hernandez.
Democratic Socialists of America – Los Angeles