November 17th, 2011
Lawsuit Over LA County Latino Seat In The Works

In Los Angeles County earlier this year race came front and center when the Board of Supervisors voted down the creation of another Latino seat and now it seems a Voting Rights Act lawsuit is brewing. LA County is 50% Latino and has but one Latino on the board — the first ever, Gloria Molina. She took office partly as the result of another lawsuit that found that supervisors intentionally tried to to prevent the creation of a Latino seat.

We spoke to Molina recently, and she told us the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, MALDEF,  is currently working behind the scenes to fundraise for a lawsuit against the county to create this second district. A request for comment from MALDEF was not returned.

“MALDEF is raising money to challenge [the board], and the board has already put together a defense team with highest paid lawyers in California. We think we have a very high chance of prevailing, because of the Voting Rights Act and the Census numbers,” she told NewsTaco, noting that all eyes are on Texas and the outcome of the redistricting lawsuit MALDEF is pursuing there.

It’s important to note that each LA Supervisor’s district contains populations larger than 15 entire states — which is to say, they are more powerful than some senators and even governors, according to KCET.

“We will sue, but they are loaded for bear on the county side. They are going to put in an awful lot of money to preserve the status quo, but by virtue of the numbers, we should have had two Latino seats,” Molin told NewsTaco.

What supervisors in LA ultimately voted for, with the exception of Molina, was to keep their own seats intact. Initially Molina was backed by Mark Ridley-Thomas, who is African-American, but in the end he switched sides for a 4-1 vote not to create the second district in favor of one that would preserve incumbent supervisors’ districts. As for the rest of California, as we reported, there were some gains and losses, depending on the level of office.

[Photo By LA County]

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