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

A Monterey Park mini-mall, January 2007
A Monterey Park mini-mall, January 2007
Photo by debbychen/Flickr (Creative Commons)

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.

Sebastian was endorse by Venti, an Italian American who had been on the council for 12 years.

Over the past decade, Monterey Park's already small non-Latino white population continued to shrink. According to 2010 Census data, the city is two-thirds Asian and more than one-quarter Latino.