Los Angeles County is the most populous county in the United States. More than a quarter of Californians live there and most of its residents, some 60 percent, are Latino. But only one of the five LA County Board of Supervisors is Latino – Gloria Molina. Supervisor Molina was elected to the board over two decades ago, after the U.S. Justice Department got involved in redistricting and said that not creating a Latino seat would violate the Voting Rights Act.
Flash forward to 2010, Supervisors Molina and Ridley-Thomas, an African American, tried to get their fellow board members to create another Latino seat, to better represent the county’s residents. That effort failed, much to the disappointment of Latino activists. Now, in a piece for LA Observed, long-time political reporter Bill Boyarsky writes that Ridley-Thomas is supporting efforts to persuade the Justice Department to intervene again and create a second Latino seat.
What are the challenges of creating another supervisorial seat? Should one of the existing seats be converted or should a new seat be created? Would more supervisors be more or less effective?
Gloria Molina, LA County Supervisor, First District
Jessica Levinson, Professor, Loyola Law School; governance expert