Commission Congressional Lines Would Halt Latino Progress

NALEO Educational Fund analysis reveals diminished opportunities for state's second largest population

LOS ANGELES, June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The first draft Congressional district maps released by California's Citizens Redistricting Commission would severely diminish opportunities for future Latino political progress in the state, according to an initial analysis by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund.  

"The maps present a worst-case scenario for the Latino community," stated NALEO Educational Fund Executive Director Arturo Vargas.  "During the last decade, California's Latino population accounted for 90% of the state's growth, and California would have lost Congressional seats without it.  The Commission's maps fail to reflect that growth by not creating fair opportunities for increased Latino representation."

The NALEO Educational Fund analysis (see Attachment 1) reveals that there are currently seven Congressional districts where Latinos can effectively elect the candidates of our choice.  The Commission's plan fails to create any additional Latino effective districts, and could reduce the current number.   One of the arguably effective districts in the Commission's map includes a large population of African Americans, which unnecessarily wages Latinos and African Americans against each other, two underrepresented groups that have worked for decades to earn fair political representation for their respective communities.  

Mr. Vargas continued, "California's maps must comply with the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), which protects underrepresented communities from discrimination in the electoral process.  Under state law, strict adherence to the VRA is one of the highest priorities that the Commission must apply in drawing the state's new districts.  The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) submitted a Congressional map to the Commission that created four additional Latino effective seats, in compliance with the VRA.  The Commission's proposed map falls far short of that standard."

The Commission's map also places some of Los Angeles' poorest Latino neighborhoods in the same district as the wealthy western communities of Los Angeles County and downtown's financial district.  Mr. Vargas continued, "The lines drawn by the Commission gerrymander Los Angeles Latinos into a district with the millionaires of Beverly Hills and Pacific Palisades.  These lines would disenfranchise Latinos by denying them a fair voice in the democratic process."

Mr. Vargas concluded, "Californians approved the creation of the Commission hoping for a sound redistricting process that would produce fair lines for all.  Latinos are California's second largest and fastest growing population group, and the state's democracy will only remain strong if it is responsive to the Latino community.  As the Commission moves forward to revise its proposed maps, it must ensure that the lines drawn provide Latinos with opportunities for full and fair representation – our democracy depends on it."

About NALEO Educational Fund

The NALEO Educational Fund is the nation's leading non-partisan, non-profit organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.


Attachment 1

Comparison of California Latino Effective Districts for Congress




Current Districts


MALDEF Civil Rights Map Submitted May 27


California Redistricting Commission Map Released June 10


Region

District #

Latino CVAP

Latino Share of CVAP


Region

District #

Latino CVAP

Latino Share of CVAP


Region

District Name

Latino CVAP

Latino Share of CVAP


Central Valley

20

163,386

50.5%


Central Valley

20

161,741

50.1%


Central Valley

KINGS

153,960

49.3%



31

129,370

49.9%



21

151,479

50.0%



DWWTR

229,521

59.3%



32

181,126

53.6%



28

158,520

50.8%



ELABH

198,359

57.6%


Los Angeles

34

169,928

64.8%



31

173,088

52.0%


Los Angeles

IGWSG*

148,011

53.3%



38

216,568

65.3%


Los Angeles

34

149,837

63.8%



COVNA

197,055

50.8%



39

174,651

51.9%



36

198,610

51.7%



SFVET

155,000

49.6%


Inland Empire

43

180,251

51.7%



38

221,579

54.8%


San Diego/ Imperial County

IMSAN

172,353

50.6%


7 total Latino effective districts



39

175,311

55.0%


7 total Latino effective districts







Inland Empire

43

158,118

50.1%












44

180,756

50.3%












San Diego/ Imperial County

51

179,297

52.3%












11 total Latino effective districts








*While this district has 53.3% Latino citizen voting age population (CVAP), African Americans comprise 39.9% of the district's CVAP, thereby placing the groups in unnecessary competition for electoral opportunities.

Notes:  Latino effective districts are generally determined by the share of Latino citizen voting age population, which must closely approach or be at least 50% of the district.  

The Commission's first draft Congressional map is available at http://wedrawthelines.ca.gov/maps-congress-1st-draft.html.

The MALDEF map submitted on May 27 is available at http://www.maldef.org/news/releases/redistricting_ca/.

Source for district CVAP: MALDEF analysis based on the U.S. Department of Justice's Special Tabulation of the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate Data (2005-2009).

Contact:
Rosalind Gold (213) 747-7606 x4420
rgold@naleo.org
Gloria Montano-Greene (202) 546-2536
gmontanogreene@naleo.org

SOURCE NALEO Educational Fund



RELATED LINKS
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