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The Census, Redistricting and Public DIscontent

If you think something big isn’t bubbling up in a groundswell of public discontent, you are just not paying attention.

Under the headline today “As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around the Globe,” the New York Times examines the phenomena of hundreds of thousands of “disillusioned Indians” cheering a rural activist on a hunger strike, how Israel is facing the “largest street demonstrations in its history,” how “enraged young people” in Spain and Greece have taken to the streets.

“Their complaints range from corruption to lack of affordable housing and joblessness, common grievances the world over. But from South Asia to the heartland of Europe and now even to Wall Street, these protesters share something else: wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over. They are taking to the streets, in part, because they have little faith in the ballot box.” 
“Economics have been the driving force, with growing income inequality, high unemployment and recession-driven cuts in social spending breeding widespread malaise. Alienation runs especially deep ini Europe, with boycotts and strikes that, in London and Athens, erupted into violence.”
 
It hasn’t happened here yet but the Occupy Wall Street protests are spreadiing to LA, Chicago and elsewhere.
And it’s a sign of how emotions are heating when, for the second time in three weeks, nearly a thousand people showed up to give the LA County Board of Supervisors an earful about the most abstract and nearly incomprehensible of all issues: Redistricting.
A flood of new Census number, arcane elements of the Voting Rights Law, the ego and power games of politicians all added up to a frenzy of activity that ended with a back room deal to preserve the status quo of supervisors’ district and punt the issue to the courts to decide whether those for whom the system seems to be working (mostly whites and Asians, based on the one-minute of testimony allowed the public) and those who feel they are being denied a choice at the ballot box (almost entirely Latinos) — as if very many of us feel we get much of a choice given the role of special interests and their money.
The fight over county districts will soon be overshadowed by the LA’s redistricting process, which is under way in the hands of a committee appointed by our elected officials for the sole purpose of protecting their own personal and political interests.
The claims for more power from Latinos, for more seats with overwhelming Latino majorities, will be strong and supported by the numbers
After the 1990 Census, Daily News reporters Beth Barrett and David Parrish produced an important story headlined “Nuevo Los Angeles” showing how Latinos had become the dominant group in South LA, pushing to African-American population out.
The numbers now are even more dramatic today in South LA and the San Fernando Valley especially.
Councilman BIll Rosendahl’s Chief of Staff Mike Bonin has culled details from the Census and city documents showing:
  • There are seven majority Latino districts: 
    CD7/Alarcon (79.51%); CD9/Perry (79.47%); CD1/Reyes (72.71%);
    CD6/Cardenas (71.02%); CD14/Huizar (70.97%); CD15/Vacant (62.23%);
    CD13/Garcetti (57.58%).
  • Two other districts are nearly 50% Latino:  CD8/Parks (49.14%); and CD10/Wesson (48.41%).
  • Jan Perry’s district has a slightly larger percentage of Latinos than Ed Reyes, Tony Cardenas, or Jose Huizar.
  • Latino
    population grew in most districts, but dipped slightly in
    CD1/Reyes; CD13/Garcetti; CD14/Huizar; as well as CD2/Krekorian and
    CD4/LaBonge.
  • There are only three majority white districts – CD5/Koretz (72.09%); CD11/Rosendahl (58.71%); CD2/Krekorian (52.63%).
It’s true the population numbers don’t reflect actual voter registration numbers or voter turnout numbers but they certainly are significant and certainly will be the basis of arguing that seven or eight districts should be drawn to provide overwhelming Latino majorities.
There can’t be any doubt that the numbers and his ambition to be mayor prompted Council President Eric Garcetti to back plans for a second Latino county supervisor seat.
Inflaming racial tensions and dividing people along racial and ethnic lines have been used to keep people from getting together in LA for decades but there is more than a little evidence that such distinctions are become less important all the time.
Herb Wesson represents a district that is less than 25 percent black.and a white Jewish man, Mitch Englander, was recently elected to the Council from a Northwest Valley district that is nearly 20 percent Asian and whites have fallen from 54 to 44 percent of the population in the last decade.
The world is changing. The question is will any of those who choose to step forward and run for public office be able to rise above the din of divisiveness and offer a vision for how we all get along better than we have in a long time.
It is the economy, stupid, that really matters. It isn’t getting any better. It is going to take real leaders to guide us through the troubled waters of our discontent in the next few years or we will see people marching in the streets and demanding reforms.
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12 Responses to The Census, Redistricting and Public DIscontent

  1. Anonymous says:

    I simply don’t get this ‘minority voter district’ crap. I heard supporter after supporter of these things yesterday exhort the Board of Sups to “…give them a Latino district so Latinos can vote!” WTF? Is this what they are convincing others of Latino heritage of? That they cannot vote unless they have their own district? Enough of this shit.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What ever happened to “may the best qualified person” win? I’m a Latino and because of the lack of leadership with the politicians now in office I would vote for any color, race etc. representative if they made me believe they had a fresh vision, mission, qualifications. All this race banter about Latinos is sickening. Its turning off a lot of voters. Why do you think so few go out to vote anymore in this City. We should make a pact that if ANY candidate continues to use RACE, boycott them. People thought we should have a Latino chief but guess what. Bill Bratton a white Irish man in a City with a huge miniority did a better job and at least had leadership skills.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m White and support Herman Cain. I’ m against the policies of Obama administration. Does it make me a racist? Gee
    But many latinos are about one issue only – illegal immigration and they will only vote for somebody like Obama who panders to them. So until they can get above this and see that illegal is exactly what it means (opposite of legal), they will keep alarcon, Cardenas, Villar, etc in power.
    Get above your skin color and show where your loyalties are – to your tribe or to your country.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m White and support Herman Cain. I’ m against the policies of Obama administration. Does it make me a racist? Gee
    But many latinos are about one issue only – illegal immigration and they will only vote for somebody like Obama who panders to them. So until they can get above this and see that illegal is exactly what it means (opposite of legal), they will keep alarcon, Cardenas, Villar, etc in power.
    Get above your skin color and show where your loyalties are – to your tribe or to your country.

  5. stzlyee says:

    The winds are changing. Anyway, I’m Hungarian. Not many of us in L.A. We enjoy people. Everyone. Watch this: Danza húngara Nº 1 youtu.be/zOA_-rSUVc0 #Alors

  6. Anonymously Yours says:

    This catering to one group or the ‘tuther is bullcrap.
    I’ve always said they should lay down a square or rectangular grid and let the votes fall where they may; it’ll all even out in the end.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The approach and patterned has been set, redistricting, Jerry Mandering.
    Latinos will eventually inherite the old American system and have a chance to corrupt is the old fashion Mexican way or really put your heart and soul into your community, like the President of Bolivia. Shared values to erradicate poverty. If you start from this point you will develop your society fr inside out. The current economy may not fall today, however, as we know the debt from European Union States are tugging on Germany and France. All the Pension Fraud on Wall Street was ignored by Brooksly Born. People, will migrate and protect the money lenders even thoug they are corrput; not by accident. Curiously, everyone agrees about the corruption, income inequality, about Goldman Sacs and will you be “QUIET”? SHHHH …don’t say the TRUTH or be punished. Punished by laws on the Boardwalk. Fines and Fees, ALL to make up for Income Loss. City Officals understand this very well, that in addition to losses in their Investments, the Results are 15+% http://yfrog.com/nybxfgrj
    It is time for the Financial Community to correct this crisis.
    We have alot to learn from each other, we have to come together in the event the depression worsens. I could have said “recession” but that’s no longer applicable, in my view.
    I hope latinos can live in america as americans with all its greatness and it’s challenges.

  8. JOHN WALSH says:

    A November 2009 POST AT CURBED LA QUOTED ME USING THE PHRASE”MEXICANS VERSUS GENTILES” IN FRONT OF THE MTA BOARD. THAT WEBSITE CALLED ME “A MONSTER”. NOW THIS FESTERING SITUATION HAS ERUPTED AND ANYBODY IS ALLOWED TO RECOGNIZE AND COMMENT AT A BOARD OF SUPES MEETING. LISTEN ETHNIC JOCKEYING FOR POWER IS AS AMERICAN AS APPLE PIE! THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS THAT HERE THE STRIFE IS BLOODLESS AND USUALLY ENDS UP DECIDED BY THE COURTS UNLIKE MOST OF THE REST OF THE WORLD. AT THE END OF THE MEETING, THE BLACK MALE SUPERVISOR AND THE MEXICAN FEMALE SUPERVISOR HUGGED ONE ANOTHER WHILE THE THREE WHITE SUPERVISORS FADED AWAY.

  9. JOHN WALSH says:

    A November 2009 POST AT CURBED LA QUOTED ME USING THE PHRASE”MEXICANS VERSUS GENTILES” IN FRONT OF THE MTA BOARD. THAT WEBSITE CALLED ME “A MONSTER”. NOW THIS FESTERING SITUATION HAS ERUPTED AND ANYBODY IS ALLOWED TO RECOGNIZE AND COMMENT AT A BOARD OF SUPES MEETING. LISTEN ETHNIC JOCKEYING FOR POWER IS AS AMERICAN AS APPLE PIE! THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS THAT HERE THE STRIFE IS BLOODLESS AND USUALLY ENDS UP DECIDED BY THE COURTS UNLIKE MOST OF THE REST OF THE WORLD. AT THE END OF THE MEETING, THE BLACK MALE SUPERVISOR AND THE MEXICAN FEMALE SUPERVISOR HUGGED ONE ANOTHER WHILE THE THREE WHITE SUPERVISORS FADED AWAY.

  10. While the population analysis is interesting, how does it breakdown for registered voters and for those that actually vote.
    In Measure B, the two westside districts (11, 5) and the three Valley districts (2, 3, and 12) have a third of the population, 45% of the registered voters, and represented over 50% of the votes.
    These five districts voted 62% against the ill conceived Measure B and only 44% for our Dear 11% Mayor.
    Only 640 days left until June 30, 2013.

  11. Rick Abrams says:

    Mexicans are not stupid. Matrix IQ tests as far back as the 1960′s show that Mexican students were/are on average 5% smarter than White. Historically immigrant populations tend to be smarter. They are the ones who get up and lave the old country and worker harder when they get to the new country.
    Clinging to our liberal racism that Mexicans were dumber rather than smarter, we forced bilingual education programs where they were forbidden to speak English, and then we gave them English based IQ tests to affirm their inferiority and hence their need of more White largess).
    Due to Affirmative Action in law schools, for years and years no Mexican-American law school student in a EEOC program passed the State Bar. Why? Because they were held to lower standards in law school and given high grades which they did not merit, but the Bar Exam was grade by assigned number and not by last name.
    I knew some of the Mexican-American law students and I know they were easily, hands-down bright enough to pass the Bar Exam. Since I did, I knew they could. But they were derailed by liberal racism. The emotional and economic losses visited upon these “minority” students was criminal. After 4 years of a phony college education and 3 years of a pampered, don’t-learn-anything law school, how was a young man or woman to make up for all the lost years imposed upon him/her by the EEOC programs?
    Around that time, I asked one left westside matron, who was complaining about the racist teachers in Watts being the reason Black children would not study harder, “if your kids came home from school complaining about an anti-Semitic teacher, could your kids skip doing their homework?” With a look of shock, she blurted out, “Of course not.”
    Ahah, The double-standards of liberal racism. The minorities cannot be expected to achieve without extra special help from Whites. That same philosophy is seen today as the “liberals” opposes Zev in order to help the “poor Mexican.” Zev knows that the days of liberal patronization are bad for everyone.
    Latinos live everywhere in LA and they do not need a special district. Our society is not based on Group Rights. There is horrible corruption in our society, but the vast corruption at LA city hall is not directed only at Mexicans. It fact LA City Hall corruption is mostly run by Mexicans and pretend-Mexicanos (Garcetti who is 1/4 Italian-1/4 Mexican, ½ Other).
    Their corruption has nothing whatsoever to do with their ethnic background. The Mexicans and the non-Mexicans vote together more than 99.3% of the time. Good government has nothing to do with race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity. It has to do with integrity.
    Corruption is rampant in Los Angeles and it engulfs the City Attorney, the District Attorney and the US Attorney as well as the judiciary.

  12. Are LA voters angry enough to change the current administration at Los Angeles City Hall?
    LA voters in the March 2011 Elections voted for incumbents – People do not care, why?

    Why do we think LA city election on March 5, 2013 will be any different?

    I would think with the poor performance and dismal track record by the current administration, the voters would demand to change the current administration at LA City Hall.
    The performance of the current administrations borders on criminal neglect.
    In order to move forward, we must educate the voters, let them know that the current administration goals are business as usual, there will be no significant changes and the city will be heading into bankruptcy. The escalating costs of pensions and benefits will drain most of the city budget as we head into 2020. The increased taxes and fees on residents and businesses will push people and businesses to leave the city. This again will reduce revenues to the city.

    The city must initiate an austerity program. Cut salaries and benefits across the board, increase efficiency and performance. The Police Department should utilize civil service employees for clerical work, not Police Officers. The city must tighten its belt and reduce taxes and fees, streamline bureaucracy. Promote the health of existing businesses and actively go after new businesses. Any city employee who is not performing his job to standards should be put on suspension without pay or benefits and if such action has not improved the workers performance, the worker/employee should be terminated. The city must utilize its most expensive resource, its employees more efficiently, promote a good work environment and reward exceptional performance. People must realize that if they do not do their job, they will have no job and no means of support. The city must streamline management and reduce management costs. A high administrative cost is not prudent and not sustainable. LA’s employee costs are one of the highest in the country. We need a change in attitude, and that starts at the top. As they say in good leadership, “follow me”.

    The main question is, why LA voters don’t care, why they are resigned to accept failure and diminishing LA city services.

    Can we not find a leader who will motivate City Hall and initiate hard choices to bring the city to financial health?

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