Gil Cedillo’s Campaign Ship Sailing into Rough Waters?

THIS IS WHAT I KNOW--City Council incumbent Gilbert Cedillo has set sail on his campaign to retain his District 1 City Council seat. LA’s primary election is March 7. His ship may be off to a rocky start, however. Activist Marc Caswell asks if Cedillo is using his office resources to send campaign emails, which may be in violation of LA Municipal Code section 49.5.5b? 

No City official or employee of an agency shall engage in campaign-related activities such as fundraising, the development of electronic or written materials, or research, for a campaign for any elective office of ballot measure during the hours for which he or she is receiving pay to engage in City business or using City facilities, equipment, supplies or other City resources

While we don’t know if Cedillo has been campaigning during office hours, LA’s Marc Caswell believes Cedillo has used city resources to send campaign emails. Caswell, who lives on the border between CD13 and CD1 says he subscribes to the email newsletters for both districts’ council members in order to stay up to date on community news and information. 

“I find it odd that I started receiving campaign emails from only Mr. Cedillo when I know I never signed up for them, “ he explains. “I think it’s wholly inappropriate that an elected official would take his taxpayer-funded newsletters (database) and use that for campaign emails. And this offense is ever more egregious since Mr. Cedillo didn’t even bother to change his City Hall office address for his campaign emails.” 

Caswell says he filed an ethics complaint because “elected officials should not abuse the taxpayer by spending our money on their re-election campaign. Not only is this a clear violation of City Ethics laws but it shows Mr. Cedillo’s clear lack of respect for the voters and residents of Los Angeles.” 

This isn’t the first time Caswell has filed an ethics complaint against Councilmember Cedillo. Back in November, Caswell says he sent a complaint about a violation of another law related to emails that was reviewed by the Ethics Commission. He is still awaiting a response. 

“Normally, I’m not this nit-picky -- but he keeps violating email ethic laws over and over!” says Caswell.
Stay tuned. If Caswell is right, Cedillo’s campaign journey may run into some campaign turbulence before he reaches that doc by the primary election bay.

(Beth Cone Kramer is a Los Angeles writer and a columnist for CityWatch.)