Bid for More Latinos on L.A. County Board Sets Up Fight

Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times, August 6, 2011

An epic redistricting battle is shaping up at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors that could result in the first nonwhite board majority in modern history and further reduce the clout of Republicans in county politics.

Latino activists are pushing for the county to create a second Latino-majority district, saying demographic shifts in the last decade demand it. Latinos now make up 48% of the county population, up from 45% in 2000, census data show. And Latinos constitute a third of the county’s potential voters, up from a little more than one in four a decade ago.

“I hope the board is going to recognize the demographic changes in this county,” said Gloria Molina, the county’s first nonwhite and first person of Latino heritage to be elected supervisor in more than a century. Molina won her seat two decades ago after civil rights groups prevailed in a legal fight that went to the U.S. Supreme Court. Latino representatives successfully argued that supervisors had drawn boundaries since the 1950s to protect white incumbents and dilute the Latino vote.

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A plan backed by Molina and Latino activists would radically overhaul the districts of Republican Don Knabe of Cerritos and Democrat Zev Yaroslavsky of the Westside. Knabe’s largely white district, which hugs the county’s western and southern coastal edges, would be redrawn as the new majority Latino district, shifting deeply into Molina’s current district toward the eastern San Gabriel Valley.

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A second Latino district could also increase the liberal majority on the board. If four votes went to Democrats, they would suddenly gain a four-fifths majority, a critical threshold for decisions such as allocating money for competing programs.

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Knabe spokeswoman Cheryl Burnett said the plan adding a new Latino-majority district would be disruptive to constituents who have grown familiar with their supervisors over the last two decades. “The supervisors and their offices know the issues … and know what their constituents expect and need,” she wrote in an email response to The Times.

Burnett pointed to the success of Latino politicians such as L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “There’s nothing that currently prevents a Latino from running for, and being elected as, supervisor of any of the five county supervisorial seats,” Burnett wrote.

But Molina and MALDEF suggested that the county may be inviting another federal voting rights lawsuit if it chooses a status quo option.

To protect the rights of minority voters, the Supreme Court has ruled that, in certain circumstances, electoral bodies must draw districts that ensure a minority group “has the effective opportunity to elect … candidates of [its] choice,” said Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt.

Latino political power is weakened because there are stark differences in voting patterns among different ethnic groups in L.A. County, Levitt said. Research shows that Latinos generally coalesce around a candidate and other groups often vote to defeat that candidate, he said. That is particularly pronounced in lower-profile local elections, he said.

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  • Legal Emigrant

    I was raised in LA and have spent the majority of my life here. I am selling out and moving to an area that is primarily white. This area is no longer safe for whites; nobody in their right mind would move here to raise kids. LA used to be beautiful. It is now Tijuanita (Little TJ) – rundown houses, trash on the streets, gangs of kids cruising all over on foot and in cars, most of the small markets Spanish or Armenian — I’ve had it. I am OUT of here as soon as this house sells.

  • berin

    Diversity is our curse!

  • Anonymous

    So even though latinos are half the population, they want special set-aside districts because

    A) They don’t have a unified ‘latino’ vote because the ‘latinos’ are really just a bunch of nationalities that don’t like each other.

    B) They don’t have politicos who can appeal to anyone outside the latino areas

    But I thought diversity was a strength! It sounds more like diveristy is endless fragmentation and disunity to me!

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Latinos now make up 48% of the county population.

    48% of the county population and they’re still screaming about “minority status?”

    Seems we WHTES are the minority population in LA now and are the ones that need to be filing a lawsuit to protect our voting rights against the majority.

    After all:

    To protect the rights of minority voters, the Supreme Court has ruled that, in certain circumstances, electoral bodies must draw districts that ensure a minority group “has the effective opportunity to elect … candidates of [its] choice,”

    But, this doesn’t apply to Whites and never will!

    We Whites have neither rights nor redress in the NWO.

    We will ALWAYS be considered the “oppressors”, “racists”, those who “suppress” nonwhites and deny them rights even though we control nothing –not the media, the government or the schools.

    As long as so much as one White is left drawing a breath on the earth, we will be blamed for non-White failure.

    Bon

  • Anonymous

    These “Latinos” are showing the world what is at the heart of their genetic inferiority.

    They are all squabbling babies. They all want the most they can get, and they want it NOW.

    This is why Mexico has never really been a nation. It’s entire history is a march of extremely bloody revolutions, seemingly to no purpose. And brutality? Just read some original histories. Or watch their drug barons chop heads off today. Same thing, and NOTHING has changed.

    And now these mellon heads with little brains and big blustering loud brash stupid egos are here in enough numbers to have forever ruined America.

    We MUST carve out our own state, a white state. I used to be reasonable, when I was ignorant. It was relative bliss, I must say.

    I was never a racist. But living around Mestizos and blacks and Indians and Laotians and…made me wake up.

    We need a new , smaller, WHITE country. This one has already died. All that is left is the financial collapse.

  • Anonymous

    2 — berin wrote at 9:14 PM on August 8:

    Diversity is our curse!

    ————————–

    It is God’s curse upon the White race for allowing nonwhites into our midst. But, keep listening to your pastors telling you that we are all the same, and that diversity is our salvation. It really is our damnation.

  • rockman

    It is historical fact that the US govt in WWI feared the whites in America favoring Germany over Britain as many whites have German heritage so they worked to split whites up into rival groups. Look it up your self. This was again applied in WWII. White women have been convinced that they have common political cause with other races. It is time for the white racial folk to wake up to reality and to unite while they can into a common front to protect the race from extinction. that is the current task of the reader today now.

  • Bernie

    Pretty much a non-story. Mexicans are the majority. Whether they control the board now or in five years the future is clear.

    Besides, its not like those white liberal politicans do anything for us. Like the buffoonish Bob Dornan, they deserve to lose their seats.

  • Miss Whitey

    It’s amazing. When Latinos make up, say, 5% of a county they are considered a minority. When they make up 48% of a county, they still consider themselves a minority and believe they should be accorded special privileges.

    They are determined to colonize LA county.

  • ATBOTL

    It’s actually worse than it seems. The “white” population of LA today may be more Middle Eastern than European.

  • Anonymous

    So, when they are a minority, they demand special rights, set-asides and privileges. When they are the majority they act to force institutions to cater to the needs of the majority.