Escondido’s Politics Leave Latinos Out, Group Says - NBC 7 San Diego

Escondido’s Politics Leave Latinos Out, Group Says

Critics say the system gives unfair advantage to one part of population

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A North County city could face legal trouble over its current electoral process.

    Some say Escondido's current system gives an unfair advantage to one part of its population while ignoring the other.

    A group of residents says city leaders are catering to wealthy white residents, while putting its 47 percent Latino population at a disadvantage.

    They say the process needs to change, or they will file suit.

    Latinos Left Out of Escondido Politics, Group Says

    [DGO] Latinos Left Out of Escondido Politics, Group Says
    Some say Escondido's current system gives an unfair advantage to one part of its population while ignoring the other.
    (Published Friday, Dec. 9, 2011)

    "It has no merits this city has a long history of embracing minority groups."<<<

    That's Escondido Mayor Sam Abed's response to a pending lawsuit challenging the city of Escondido's current electoral process. A process a group of Latino residents say is unfair to the city's Latino constituency.

    “It's about political philosophy it's not about ethnicity."

    But the group says it is, so they're threatening to file suit if the city does not change from an at-large electoral process to a geographic district process. The group says with a 47 percent Latino population the current council lacks a Latino representation.

    "We have a Latino representative on the council, we have a minority mayor we have 1-and-half councilmembers so what's the issue?"

    "I almost get an opportunity now to say ‘I told you so,’ because I've been talking about this for a while now and it was just a matter of time," said City Councilwoman Olga Diaz

    And as the first openly Latino councilmember elected since Escondido's 123 year-old incorporation, Diaz supports the change.

    "Escondido even though it's a fairly large city it's still a good 'ol boy town and if you're not part of that then yes it is very difficult to get elected," Diaz said.

    By switching to a district electoral process Diaz says it would make more socio-economic sense when it comes to local politics.

    “It would reduce the barrier to entry. In other words it would be a lot less expensive if you wanted to run for council from a much smaller district."

    An idea Mayor Abed says he will continue to fight.

    “I believe it's going to hurt them,” he said. “It's going to be divisive."