New Calif. District Maps Thwart Latino Voters

Monday, 01 Aug 2011 03:58 AM

By T.M. Golub

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California Latinos will face significant challenges in seeking fair representation in the state Senate and Congress, according to an analysis by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund of final draft maps of the state Citizens Redistricting Commission.
The analysis released last week shows that the Senate draft maps reduce the number of districts where Latinos can effectively choose elected leaders, with some Latino communities in the San Fernando Valley and Orange County being re-sited within districts with a weaker Latino presence than currently drawn.
Given the strides and growth the Latino constituency has made over the years, especially in Orange County and the San Fernando Valley, “The Commission’s draft maps will make it more difficult for their voices to be heard in the electoral process,” said NALEO Educational Fund Executive Director Arturo Vargas.
 “We are disappointed that the Commission did not create an additional Latino effective district in the Assembly and the Congress in the Central Valley to ensure that their maps reflect the growth of the area’s Latino community,” Vargas noted.
Despite the challenges in the valleys and Orange County, the redistricting of the Los Angeles area creates two additional Latino-effective districts, and one each for Imperial County/Riverside County and the San Diego County areas at the Assembly level. At the congressional level, the maps would add Latino-effective districts in the Imperial County/San Diego area and in the San Fernando Valley.
“We are pleased the Commission looked carefully at the Los Angeles area, and listened to the community when developing its second set of maps. The additional opportunities created in the Assembly and Congress will help Latinos elect leaders who will be responsive to their concerns,” Vargas noted.

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