June 10, 2011 | Chicago Tribune | Original Article

California redistricting: Latinos fret over redrawn map

Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Assn. of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and a veteran of reapportionment battles, called the proposed new maps of congressional districts released Friday the "worst-case scenario for Latinos in California.’’

"These maps in no way reflect the population shifts of the past 10 years that were documented by the 2010 census," he said. "Latinos accounted for 90% of the state’s population increase. When you look at the combined number of districts statewide that would be effective Latino districts, we actually end up with less than what we have now."

He said the maps link "the poorest communities of the city of Los Angeles with the billionaires of the Westside," adding that the maps have "thrown communities of interest out the window" and that the proposal "empowers the Westside of Los Angeles at the expense of the central part of the city and the Eastside."

He complained the plan "needlessly creates a district that pits African Americans against Latinos," citing a district extending from South Gate to Inglewood.

"Were going to have to mobilize the community," he said. "I think this is going to create a full employment program for voting rights lawyers because of what they have done here to disenfranchise Latino communities in L.A."