District 1 News

District 1 News

Joe Bray-Ali Speaks In Favor of Affordable Housing Policy

Yesterday at the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, I spoke in favor of Council File CF 14-1325, a joint Huizar/O’Farrell motion to investigate something called “value capture” in the City of Los Angeles. You can hear my comment by clicking on the play button below (I recorded it using my cell phone, so the quality isn’t the greatest).

What is value capture?

Value capture takes a lot of forms in cities across the U.S. What this value capture motion is about is making any big increases in land value due to city council action (like an increased allowance for height, lot coverage, etc.) also come with some strings attached. For example, if the city allowed a big project to get even bigger, a value capture law would require the developers to include affordable housing on-site or pay into a special fund to build affordable housing elsewhere in the city.

A real-life example

I made this short Instagram video to show a site in Chinatown that is a perfect example of where a value capture law could help create affordable housing.


This 5.25 acre site, located at 924 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, and is across the street from the Metro Gold Line Chinatown Station. It is called the College Station project and it was featured in a KPCC report last year about developers getting around affordable housing rules and zoning law.

College Street Project in Chinatown

The property was bought in the early 2000’s and the buyers submitted plans for a project much bigger than allowed. The council approved the plans and the project was sold at a considerable profit to the current owner, Atlas Capital. The plans for the site currently include 685 market rate apartments, with exactly zero set-asides for affordable housing.

If a value capture law were in place, some of that big profit would be put into building affordable units on-site, or paid into a special affordable housing fund to build those units somewhere else in the city.

Why did I comment?

Los Angeles is having a housing crisis. The crisis has been building for years, yet the city council has been slow to act on important legislation like this Huizar/O’Farrell value capture proposal. Why has the city council found it so difficult to produce any meaningful answers for a city in crisis? Gil Cedillo, as chair of the Housing Committee, is acting as a road block for any affordable housing policies (value capture, Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) reform and protections, etc.) because they cut into the massive profits of the luxury developers that make up his donor base.

I commented in the PLUM committee yesterday to commend the council for pushing through Cedillo’s road block in order to pass laws that will ensure Los Angeles is a city for all people of all economic levels.

As councilmember in CD1, I will fight for policies that help stop the loss of affordable housing.  I am committed to building Safe Streets and Strong Neighborhoods – and we can’t do that if we can’t afford to live in our home town!

NELA to CicLAvia bike ride with Joe Bray-Ali on Sunday, August 14, 2016

CicLAvia is here again! This Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 8 a.m. join city council candidate Joe Bray-Ali on a bike ride from North East Los Angeles to the One Wilshire Hub for CicLAvia.

Meet at the Flying Pigeon LA bike shop at 3404 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90065 on Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 8 a.m. We will roll out at 8:30 a.m.

There is a Facebook event for this ride.

Kids, cargo bikes, road bikes, tandems, eBikes, come one, come all. No need to make a reservation.

The shop will be open for about 30 minutes before we depart for One Wishire at 8:30 a.m. for last minute tire inflation.

What you will need for this ride:

  • a functioning bicycle;
  • extra water;
  • and a smile!

What you will NOT need for this ride:

  • helmet (CA law = 18 and under need one; 18+ do as you please);
  • signed release;
  • reservations (no need to call ahead).

Parking is available on-street. A lovely cafe, Antigua Cultural Coffee House, will be open if you want to get here early and relax before the ride.

The Flying Pigeon LA bike shop is located adjacent the Metro Gold Line between two stations: Cypress Park/Lincoln Heights or Heritage Square. The address is 3404 N. Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90065.

The shop is also conveniently served by the 24-hour 81 bus and 83 bus lines run by Metro.

There is a Facebook event for this ride.

Any questions? hello@bikeoven.com or @joe4cd1 on Twitter

David vs. Goliath: a grass roots campaign against a money machine

Today is the Ethics Commission deadline to file campaign contributions forms for the period January 1, 2016 to June 30, 2016. It’s also a good time to share some news from a real grass roots campaign for city council in Los Angeles.

First, the campaign filing info (you can get the official documents at ethics.lacity.org). I filed papers to run for office with the State of California and the LA Ethics Commission in mid-June of 2016. It took extra time to open a proper bank account, get an ActBlue donation page setup, schedule some small meet-and-greet fundraisers and publish this web-site. In that short span, the campaign brought in about $5,500 from individual donors; averaging $100 per donor (these are not exact figures). Most folks donated between $5 and $50, and just about everyone lives in or near the district.

My rival, the incumbent, has raised close to $250,000 – money from special interest groups, big real estate developers, and lots of money from outside the district. This is no surprise: he thinks he can afford to ignore our communities’ interests. It is hard to spot the incumbent or his staff around Council District 1 these days!

A volunteer plants donated seedlings at a "Work Party" I organized at a small community garden in Highland Park.

A volunteer plants donated seedlings at a “Work Party” I organized at a small community garden in Highland Park.

I am committed to being a different kind of councilmember. I have been attending many Neighborhood Council meetings and community events. I have run several gardening work parties. Concerned community members have hosted small group talks, and hikes, with me and their neighbors.

The view from my seat in the audience at a recent Echo Park Neighborhood Council meeting.

The view from my seat in the audience at a recent Echo Park Neighborhood Council meeting.

I’ve been taking notes, getting caught up on all the latest neighborhood gossip, construction news, nuisances, happy stories, and hard luck tales. This district is home to approximately 250,000 people. We deserve a representative that cares about our lives, our stories. We deserve a representative with a vision to improve our quality of life, the safety of our streets, and strengthening the best of what exists in this district.

The money that has been donated to my campaign has been put to work directly – securing the printed material and technology needed to win in 2017. The donations my campaign received come from small donors, from the people, not the corporations and special interests – and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

I organized a work party to repair a fleet of bicycles for formerly homeless kids living in transitional housing. Here I am fixing a flat tire on one of their bicycles.

I organized a work party to repair a fleet of bicycles for formerly homeless kids living in transitional housing. Here I am fixing a flat tire on one of their bicycles.

This is what a grass roots campaign looks like.

If you’d like to join the movement to have a city council district for the people, not the big money donors, you can add your $20.17 and I’ll deliver that change!

-Josef Bray-Ali



Coffee with a Cop

Hollenbeck mapOn Thursday July 7th the Joe Bray-Ali campaign team joined our Lincoln Heights community and local law enforcement officers from the LAPD Hollenbeck Division for Coffee with a Cop.

The Coffee with a Cop event is intended to break down barriers between police and civilians, and instead build bridges for open communication and support. The event drew over 50 people, all of whom enjoyed tasty pastries and hot coffee courtesy of LA Baking Co. The café setting and casual conversation allowed community members to bring up issues and ask the officers questions in a comfortable environment.

Also present at the event were board members of the Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council, property owners, and representatives from local small businesses. Thanks to the Hollenbeck Division for sharing your perspective from the streets of Northeast Los Angeles District 1 neighborhoods!

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