Letter to the Editor: Some of my best friends are Latino

Every ten years we have to adjust the lines to accommodate growth as identified by the numbers as a result of the census. With multiple redistricting maps submitted all over the state, and a mandate for an independent citizen’s commission to draw these lines, one thing is clear; Latinos have accounted for 90% of the population growth in the last 10 years.
The independent commission to date has not reflected the impact of Hispanic growth throughout the state. Statewide, Latinos have joined with the Asian community to protect immigrant population growth communities.
Here locally, the City of Long Beach is 41 percent Latino but the City’s growth overall is minimal, resulting in no major changes in the district lines. No changes, that is except for the 7th and the 8th districts since the entire City of Long Beach’s population only increased by 735 residents since the last census.
The local redistricting process is as crazy as it gets. Unfortunately, the City has chosen to provide only one map for discussion and input when there are hundreds of ways to draw the lines. 
In this case, the 7th district has given the Latino community the largest shift amongst any ethnic group in the city. [Seventh District Councilmember James] Johnson’s map decreases the percentage of Latinos in the 7th, the largest movement of any ethnic group in any district in the city. Although the percentage drop is the largest, the numbers increase due to the thousands of residents he is taking from the 8th district.  
All this was done without a community meeting or an outreach plan. I understand that Councilman Johnson now wants a meeting on June 30 at 7pm at the Bixby Knolls Christian Church located at 1240 E. Carson. Johnson’s map will ensure no one south of Wardlow, or maybe even Bixby Road, gets elected to represent the 7th District for at least the next 10 years.
Let’s hope the State maps give us a better chance at fair representation, although whatever the outcome, the process may end up with a legal challenge.
Locally, the City Council alone will decide the fate of our lines for the next 10 years.  Please weigh in and make your voices heard at the July 5 Long Beach City Council or at the meeting and on June 28 at the Expo building sponsored by Councilwoman Gabelich.

Tonia Reyes Uranga, 7th District resident
Vice President, League of United Latin American Citizens–Long Beach

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