Election Changes Color of Politics

Brian DeBose, Washington Times, June 6

The election of Los Angeles’ first Hispanic mayor endangers the political dominance of black Democrats there, and officials from both communities say they worry that tensions over political control of the city will lead to social unrest.

“The Democratic leadership in L.A., it is not going to be black anymore. It will be brown,” said Morris Reid, managing director of Westin Rinehart, a political consulting firm.

He said Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, was aided in his win over Mayor James K. Hahn by an unprecedented display of unity between black and Hispanic politicians and voters.

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Black and Hispanic community activists said the unity that swept Mr. Villaraigosa into office is not likely to last.

“I have been, for the last 15 years, doing volunteer work in the public school system in L.A., Crenhaw and Hawthorne and I have been seeing a silent warfare building between blacks and Hispanics,” said the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, president of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND).

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“I think the Villaraigosa election is the end of any non-Latino representation,” Mr. Ramirez said. “They are replacing everybody at the school board level, city council level, the water board, community college board levels, and they have been able to do this with Spanish radio and TV telling illegal immigrants to vote.”

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