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Commentary; MALDEF's Lawsuit Is Racially Divisive
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Subjects: Hispanic Americans; Apportionment; Congressional elections -- California
Author: Escutia, Martha||||||Romero, Gloria
Date: Nov 1, 2001
Start Page: B.13
Section: California; Metro Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

Thirteen seats (seven state Senators; six members of Congress) currently held by Latinos are maintained or strengthened, and a new heavily Latino congressional district is created in Los Angeles County. In addition, voters in two state Senate districts (and possibly three) held by white term-limited senators will, in all likelihood because of increased Latino and Democratic voting strength, elect Latinos in 2002.

MALDEF claims that [Howard Berman]'s 55.6% Latino district is not "Latino enough." But the voters in the new Berman district have demonstrated a willingness to support progressive candidates of any race. Residents in the areas that comprise the new district voted for Antonio Villaraigosa for mayor and for Rocky Delgadillo for city attorney in the recent Los Angeles city election and voted overwhelmingly for Cruz Bustamante for lieutenant governor.

The elections of State Sens. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) and Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont) in non-Latino areas demonstrate that a strong Latino candidate need not have a district packed with Latino votes.

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