Two Latino districts.The struggle to create a second Latino-opportunity district in the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will reach a key stage next Tuesday, when the five supervisors will once again consider the options on the table.
For now, their positions appear inflexible, with three supervisors supporting a redistricting plan maintaining the status quo.
The other two-Gloria Molina and Mark Ridley Thomas-seek a change that creates a second district where the Latino population has enough voting power to elect a representative.
There are several political considerations in selecting one of the maps, with the goal of updating political representation in the powerful Board of Supervisors based on the most recent Census data.
If the supervisors do not take into account the growth of the county’s Latino population and the fact, argued by redistricting experts, that there are enough Latino voters concentrated in certain areas of the county to have voting power in two districts, the case may end up in court, as happened in 1991.
The expense of defending a lawsuit could reach up to $20 million, and this is certainly not a good moment for this kind of expense in Los Angeles County.
Besides all this, there is a powerful constitutional argument for developing a plan or map that allows the creation of a second district with a cohesive group of Latino voters that can elect a candidate of their preference.
What the map that until now has been favored by the majority does is “pack” Latino voters into Gloria Molina’s district and divide them among the other districts, particularly in San Fernando Valley.
We think the most appropriate thing to do is try to avoid a costly legal battle and choose a map that fulfills the legal requirements of the Voting Rights Act, creating two Latino districts in a county where Latinos account for 48% of the population and 30% of registered voters.
Otherwise, supervisors will be repeating an expensive and useless error, similar to the one in 1991.