Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

City candidates reveal increasingly diverse L.A.



A color-coded ethnicity map of the Los Angeles area, based on older census data
A color-coded ethnicity map of the Los Angeles area, based on older census data
Art by Eric Fischer/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Today's municipal elections in Los Angeles and other local cities happen to coincide with the scheduled release this afternoon of 2010 Census data for California, which will show us the racial and ethnic breakdown of the state and how it has changed since ten years ago.

The census data is just beginning to roll out, but the roster of candidates for Los Angeles City Council, and for council seats in surrounding cities, is a good indication of what the face of Southern California looks like. On the L.A. ballot alone are eight immigrants, along with others who are the children and grandchildren of immigrants.



The story doesn't end at the city boundaries. The city of Monterey Park, long home to a large Asian population, could possibly wind up after today's election with the first all-Asian city council in the continental United States.

And in the scandal-plagued city of Bell, where residents are voting on whether to recall city officials while also casting ballots for new ones, among the mostly Latino candidates running to replace ousted council members is a representative of the city's small Lebanese community. Ali Saleh, a community activist, is the son of Lebanese immigrants who arrived in Bell in 1974.