Anaheim community leaders ask for Latino rep in local government

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Anaheim resident, Gabriel Bermirez, 14, says that he sympathizes with feelings of frustration among the Latino community with city leadership and police.

Anaheim Leaders

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Martin Lopez, representing a local hotel workers union, addresses the press during the July 31, 2012 press conference in which community members called for the City Council to address the lack of Latino leadership at Anaheim City Hall.

Anaheim Leaders

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Anaheim resident, Rabiya Shakil (center), 20, stands with other community members during a July 31, 2012 press conference calling for city leaders to address a lack of Latino and minority representation in City Hall.

Anaheim Leaders

Bear Guerra/KPCC

Marisol Ramirez, 20, a student and board member for Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD), is interviewed by the Spanish language press.


As the demonstrations subside, people in Anaheim are gathering outside City Hall to say they want officials in the city, with its 54 percent Latino population, to address why so few in that majority are represented in local government.

"A large segment of the city is not only misrepresented, but grossly underrepresented. And this must change," says Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California. "Our city leaders have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to unify our city and move forward by settling the current California Voting Rights Act lawsuit that was filed earlier by all of us."

Syed is part of a coalition of Anaheim leaders who sued the city alongside the American Civil Liberties Union in late June. Syed, with Latino, Arab, Asian-American and Pacific Islander community leaders, says that moving to a council district system instead of at-large voting would ensure that the City Council would represent Latinos in poor Anaheim neighborhoods.

The Anaheim City Council is debating whether to place the creation of city council districts on the November ballot.

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