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Latino and Black Leadership

August 09, 1992

The Times' editorial concern about the tensions between African-American and Latino groups ("So Where Are the Cooler Heads?" July 26) is sincere and well-founded. What should be an alliance is being sorely tested by competition for jobs in the endeavor to "Rebuild L.A."

But to argue that those of us, as The Times points out, who are working "behind the scenes" to bring these groups together should now go public to proclaim the need for reconciliation is premature.

The African-American, Latino and Asian-American communities are proud, independent and, rightly so, somewhat distrusting of the traditional Los Angeles political Establishment.

They have seen too much grandstanding, too many headline hunters and then far too little progress to be convinced just by news conferences and speeches.

This attitude may surprise some, because of my position as an elected leader; but, in this case, first applying a little of what The Times calls "skilled maneuvering" can go a long way toward resolving what is truly approaching a crisis stage.

DIANE E. WATSON, State Senate, D-Los Angeles

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