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No 'Guarantees' in Council Election

April 13, 1989

In 1960, black voters in Compton had a good, viable candidate for the high school district in Lionel Cade, who later became a councilman and then the mayor. The majority did not choose to elect Cade, although Compton had not elected a black.

Martin D. Chavez's master's degree is not a prerequisite for election to the Compton City Council ("Candidate Would Be First Latino on Compton Council," Times, March 19). It only enhances his eligibility to run for office. Like his race, it is no guarantee of election.

If the Latinos are unhappy with the black leadership, I would suggest that they join forces with the blacks who are unhappy with the leadership. In the early days of the blacks in Compton, we joined forces with a group to defeat a recall movement (against) the city attorney, Jim Butler. We knew that Butler was fair because he was a member of our NAACP and his wife, Eugenia, was our treasurer.

Chavez says: "I think that they believe that they are the advocates of civil rights, but in reality they are the keepers of their civil rights, not the civil rights of the minority community." Civil rights has nothing to do with the election of a council person in the 3rd District. If Latinos believe that there is discrimination then they should file a lawsuit. We blacks would do so.

In the late 1940s and early '50s, the white citizens did not give the city of Compton to the blacks. The blacks did not take the city administration from the whites. The whites sold the city of Compton to the blacks at a profitable price. . . . and rushed to buy new houses . . . in all-white communities.

Blacks, unlike whites, are not going to sell Compton to the Latinos. When two Latino families move into a block with blacks there will be no rush of "For Sale" signs appearing on (black) lawns. . . . Blacks don't mind living next to (Latinos), or their children going to school with Latino children who can't speak English.

The statistical breakdown on the number of Latinos (in municipal jobs) could be accurate. But when the microscope that Chavez says that the city is under is studied, it will reveal that black teachers and black city workers must quit, retire or die if anyone is to get their jobs.

The Supreme Court has ruled that in education and on union jobs there is to be no quota system. Blacks tried to get equality through quotas. Reagan's court said no.

The National Planning Data Corp., which predicts that 38.8% of the population in Compton in 1993 will be Latino, is crazy. Where is the housing coming from? They would have to buy all the new housing . . . in Compton, plus pay blacks handsomely for old property. . . .

I would vote for Chavez if he appealed for my vote based on what he could do for Compton and how it would benefit me. I am not interested in voting for him just because he is a Latino and that he might be more competent.

His working (as an affirmative action specialist with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power) is a long way from replacing the knowledge that Councilman (Robert L.) Adams has gained during his terms in office, in the business of making policies for the city. Compton has paid for Adams' education.

The solution to Chavez's problem is simple when you know how this form of government in the United States works. This country is a democratic republic, which means: come up with the votes or come up with the money. In this country one can be a real success if one has both votes and money.

At present, Latinos have neither the votes nor the money to purchase enough property to launch an election campaign based on race.

The record will show that the NAACP was organized in my home and I was its first president. We fought for fairness. NAACP is still for fairness. I would hope that the city of Compton and the Compton Unified School District are hiring the most qualified people regardless of race, creed or color. That is what (Councilman) Maxcy D. Filer, who later was president of the NAACP, and I set as the goals of the NAACP.

JESSE L. ROBINSON

Compton

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