State Redistricting Looks Good for Local Latinos, Says Public Policy Exec

By Gloria Angelina Castillo, EGP Staff Writer

Accompanying story: Boundary Changes Transform Local Districts

The state’s preliminary final maps for the eastern portion of Los Angeles County look good for Latino elected officials and preserves seniority for Congressional representation, Jaime A. Regalado, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs told EGP on Tuesday. He was responding to a question on what impact the proposed new Congressional and State Senate and Assembly districts will have locally.

The boundary changes and renumbering have impacted all local districts and as a result, elected officials are staking claims to the districts that have the majority of their current geography and constituency.

Jaime Regalado

Regalado said the maps (provided by EGP) “look good for Latino officials—those who are incumbents and new ones running,” particularly in EGP’s coverage area. “Elsewhere the commission might have problems, like in the San Fernando Valley and San Diego County…” he said.

Regalado said the new maps do not put either Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, who will run for the new 40th District, or Congressman Xavier Becerra at a “competitive disadvantage,” since each is strong in their respective areas. Both are senior members of Congress.

“The worry was that they were going to be shoved into the same district to run against each other, and of course that would have been unfair to one or the other and the constituents as well,” Regalado said.

However, the race for the 38th Congressional District could wind up being very competitive, according to Regalado.

(Left) The redrawn 38th Congressional District includes Montebello, South El Monte, Pico Rivera, Whittier, Santa Fe Springs, Norwalk, Cerritos, Artesia and other cities. (Right) The current 38th Congressional District includes Montebello, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs Norwalk, Pomona, Hacienda Heights, La Puente, and stretches over to Diamond Bar and Pomona.

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, who currently represents the area, and State Sen. Ron Calderon have both announced their intentions to run for the seat.

The redrawn 38th Congressional District includes large portions of Calderon’s current senate district, which may be to his advantage, but Napolitano has been there for well over a decade, “so it sets up an interesting match up of two well known elected officials that happen to be Latino running for a west San Gabriel seat,” Regalado told EGP.

Regalado also noted that Labor issues might separate the two candidates.

“Labor has supported both in the past but they consider Ron [Calderon] a more business-friendly Democrat than a labor-friendly Democrat. So it would be interesting to see if Labor gets involved at all. In a family-fight, so-to-speak, like that, Grace Napolitano has probably been closer to Labor issues than Ron Calderon,” Regalado said.

At the Assembly level, Assemblymember Gil Cedillo (45th District) is termed out while Mike Eng (49th District) and Assembly President John Perez (46th District) all have time remaining on their tenure.

He said the new 33rd Assembly District, which includes Vernon, Huntington Park, Maywood, Bell, Cudahy, and South Gate, will likely include a reform campaign, since all of those areas are “troubled, poor working class, Latino cities [and] heavily immigrant.”
The southeast cities need economic revitalization and job creation, but also political reform and civic engagement, he said.  “So we’ll see who steps in,” Regalado said.

The local senators—Kevin De Leon (22nd District), Ricardo Lara (50th District), Ed Hernandez (24th District)—all have time left before term limits take them out of the running.

Read this story IN SPANISH: La Redistribución de Distritos Locales se ven Prometedores para los Latinos, dice Analysta de Políticas Públicas

Legal challenges to the maps are expected. “MALDEF and the Latino Redistricting Coalition might feel that an additional couple of districts in the geographies we’re talking about—South of East LA and East of East LA—can eek out an additional one to three seats,” Regalado said.

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August 11, 2011  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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