David vs. Goliath: a grass roots campaign against a money machine - Joe Bray-Ali for Council District 1

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

28097235134_a448cac099_k-800x400.jpgToday 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.

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.

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.

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