By T.A. Hendrickson
Gil Cedillo, the Los Angeles city councilmember representing much of Northeast L.A., today endorsed Rick Caruso for Mayor of Los Angeles.
Cedillo (Council District 1) announced his support at a rally/press event at La 27th Street Restaurante Nicaragüense in Pico Union. The theme of the event, emblazoned on placards held aloft by the audience, was “Latinos for Rick Caruso for Mayor.”
In announcing his endorsement of Caruso, Cedillo said he had given much thought to the role Latinos could play in the city’s civic life, noting that the Latino population has the size, capacity, diligence and work ethic to contribute greatly. “But we’re not seen,” said Cedillo. “We’re invisible.”
Caruso “sees us,” said Cedillo. “He knows us. He comes from an immigrant household. From Boyle Heights. He shares our values….”
Cedillo said that Caruso was a pivotal supporter during the long fight to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver licenses. Cedillo spearheaded the effort, often without allies, but Caruso, as president of the L.A. Police Commission from 2001 to 2006, gave active and steadfast support, said Cedillo. “In times of difficulty, he never wavered,” he said.
In accepting the endorsement, Caruso said he would be a mayor for everyone in the city. “But half of this city is Latino, “said Caruso, “and half of this city does not get heard as much as it needs to be heard.” He pledged to hire and appoint Latinos throughout his administration. He committed to shaping a police department that reflects the community. Noting the impact of Covid-19 in Latino communities, he promised to protect Latinos’ “lives and livelihoods.”
Caruso told the audience: “I cannot win this race without the Latino community behind me. And when I become Mayor, because of your support, I will never ever forget who got me to that office.”
In the primary, Caruso won most of the vote in heavily Latino areas, ahead of his opponent Karen Bass, but it’s unclear if the Latino vote will break his way in the general election, according to an analysis by the L.A. Times.
Cedillo’s endorsement is a potential inroad for Caruso to the Latino vote. A two-term councilmember in heavily Latino CD 1, Cedillo lost his bid in June for a third term to Eunisses Hernandez. Nevertheless, he garnered 13,700 votes to Hernandez’s 16,108 – not enough to win but still a sizable show of support.
Cedillo is the second L.A. city councilmember to endorse Caruso, following Joe Buscaino (CD 15).
Four city councilmembers have endorsed Karen Bass for Mayor: City Council President Nury Martinez (CD 6), Nithya Raman (CD 4), Mike Bonin (CD 11) and Marqueece Harris-Dawson (CD 8).
Karen Bass also has the endorsement of several elected officials representing Northeast L.A., including State Senator Maria Elena Durazo, State Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis and L.A Unified School Board Member Jackie Goldberg.
Kevin de León (CD 14), the city councilmember for Northeast L.A.’s CD 14, has not yet endorsed a mayoral candidate. His endorsement is important because his primary bid for mayor, though unsuccessful, showed strength among Latino voters.