A coalition of Latino groups has formally launched its drive for the creation of a City Council district with a Latino majority that could send a Latino to the council for the first time.
Nearly a quarter of Long Beach's population is Latino, according to 1990 Census figures, and Latino leaders say it is time a member of their community represent them on the council. "No Latino or Latina has ever been elected in the city's history," noted Dan Torres, president of the local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, at a Friday press conference in front of City Hall.
The nine council districts must be redrawn--by the council--to reflect population increases during the last decade. With most Latinos residing in the downtown or central areas, a new Latino district would probably consist of parts of the first, second, fourth and sixth districts. The sixth district, now represented by the council's only black, Clarence Smith, is 48% Latino, while the first district is 37% Latino.
The coalition leaders say they will present a redistricting plan to the council within two months.