How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

There are more Latinos in California, but not in Echo Park

Photo by Kent Kanouse/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Chango coffee house on Echo Park Avenue, part of the gentrified Echo Park, October 2005

Earlier this week, the 2010 census results for California revealed a state in which overall, the white population has shrunk in the last decade, while the Latino population has continued to grow. But what about in L.A.'s formerly Latino neighborhoods that have gentrified?

In ultra-gentrified Echo Park, the trend happened in reverse. The Eastsider LA blog featured a post on the neighborhood's changing demographics, citing census numbers which show that since 2000, the percentage of Latinos in census tract 1974.20, sandwiched between Glendale Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue, dropped by 10 percent. At the same time, as the neighborhood became synonymous with hip, rents skyrocketed and non-Latino white creatives and young professionals snapped up property, the white population climbed 10 percent.

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Q&A: Temecula imam speaks out about today's House hearing on Islam

Photo by Steven Cuevas/KPCC

Harmoush at a Temecula planning commission hearing, December 2010

Today marked the first hearing in the House Committee on Homeland Security on the "extent of radicalization" among American Muslims, led by committee chair and New York Republican Rep. Peter King.

The hearings, which were broadcast on C-SPAN, began at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time, not the best time for West Coast viewers. But those who have followed the story have strong opinions about the gist of the hearings nonetheless. Among them is Imam Mahmoud Harmoush of the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley, which last year drew heated opposition and protesters to the Riverside County wine region over its plans to build a larger facility a few miles away, by a Baptist church. The project received city approval recently.

Yesterday, Harmoush was among those who responded to a query from KPCC’s Public Insight Network inviting local Muslims and people of all faiths to share their take on today’s hearings. He agreed to allow his response to be published.

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In the news this morning: House hearings on Islam, immigrants and jobs, a community where CA census trend happened in reverse, more

Fact Checker - Peter King's claim about radical Muslim imams: Is it true? - The Washington Post An examination of what's factual and what isn't behind Rep. Peter King's House hearings on the "extent of radicalization" among American Muslims, which began this morning.

The Peter King hearings on radical Islam (live blog) - The Washington Post The Post liveblogs the first of King's Islam hearings, happening now.

Lawmakers Accuse GOP of Inciting Tension Between Blacks, Immigrants - New America Media California Rep. Elton Gallegly has said he believes that low-skilled native born workers are most harmed by immigrant workers. The same idea is being discussed in a hearing in the House immigration subcommittee today.

2010 Census reveals a decade of Echo Park demographic change — The Eastsider LA While the 2010 Census showed the Latino population in California growing and the non-Latino white population shrinking, in this gentrifying community, the trend is happening in reverse.

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Five good explanations of what the census results mean for California

Photo by Michelle Kinsey Bruns/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Yesterday's 2010 Census results for California revealed what was already expected, an increasingly diverse state in which ethnic minorities have together become a majority. Latinos and Asian Americans alone - 37.6 and 12.8 percent of the population, respectively - now make up half the state's residents.

What does this mean for the state, politically and culturally? There have been several good explanations today, among them:


  • A story in the Los Angeles Times explained how the census results will help shift political power around the state; an interactive map of California's congressional districts shows each district's racial and ethnic breakdown, and helps explain the redistricting process. From the story:


Political power will shift away from traditional strongholds such as Los Angeles and San Francisco and into the Inland Empire and Central Valley. Minorities, whose representation in the Legislature and the California congressional delegation has never matched their population numbers, could see increased opportunities to gain control of elected offices.

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Monterey Park: In a majority Asian city, a Latina wins a council seat

Photo by debbychen/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A Monterey Park mini-mall, January 2007

Monterey Park did not become the first city in the continental United States to have an all-Asian city council yesterday, as some had anticipated, but it did get an all-minority council that's representative of the majority-minority city's ethnic makeup.

Five of the eight candidates vying yesterday for the city's three open council seats were Asian American. Among the seats open was one vacated by Benjamin "Frank" Venti, the sole non-Asian city council member. After yesterday's votes were counted, Latina newcomer Teresa Real Sebastian - whose campaign website proffered greetings in multiple languages - joined incumbents Mitchell Ing and Anthony Wong as one of the three winners.

From an Eastern Group Publications story today:

Ing said his win gives him the “assurance that voters like my approach.”

Sebastian’s win was a “pleasant surprise,” he said. Chinese newspaper reporters who attended his victory party left early thinking the new council would consist of all Asian American members  because of earlier numbers, he said.

Ing thinks Sebastian would be a good representative for non-Asian residents in the city, adding that part of her appeal was the she was the only woman running in these elections.

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