BLACKS ON PACE TO MAKE VALLEY POLITICAL INROADS.
Byline: BRAD A. GREENBERG
After Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Antonio Ramon Villaraigosa (born Antonio (Tony) Ramon Villar, Jr. on January 23, 1953) is the mayor of Los Angeles, California. He is the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles since Cristobal Aguilar in 1872. spoke to a cadre of young Latino politicians at a fundraiser at the Hansen Dam Hansen Dam in Los Angeles County, California was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District in 1939 and 1940. The project is located near the northern edge of the San Fernando Valley on Tujunga Wash, about one mile below the confluence of the Big Tujunga Wash Equestrian Center this month, a black woman approached Robert Winn and asked about African-American political might.
"We stand in good stead," said Winn, a black political consultant.
Indeed, more than half of the San Fernando San Fernando, city, Argentina
San Fernando (săn fərnăn`dō), city (1991 pop. 144,761), Buenos Aires prov., E Argentina. It is a district administrative center in the Greater Buenos Aires area. Valley's 60,000 blacks are registered to vote. And they have the highest voter turnout among minorities, making them a crucial voting bloc A voting bloc is a group of voters that are so motivated by a specific concern or group of concerns that it helps determine how they vote in elections. The divisions between voting blocs are known as cleavage. .
But whether an African-American will ever be elected to represent the Valley -- that's a different question.
"A black couldn't get elected by sheer force of black votes," Winn said. "But a black could get elected if he had the support of the community."
Over the hill, blacks have had an ironic advantage in L.A. politics, said Tom Hogen-Esch, director of policy studies for the California State University, Northridge CSUN offers a variety of programs leading to bachelor's degrees in 61 fields and master's degrees in 42 fields. The university has over 150,000 alumni. It's also home to a summer musical theater/theater program known as TADW (TeenAge Drama Workshop) that leads teenagers through an , Center for Southern California Southern California, also colloquially known as SoCal, is the southern portion of the U.S. state of California. Centered on the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, Southern California is home to nearly 24 million people and is the nation's second most populated region, Studies.
"Segregation," he said.
Racial covenants that limited blacks to buying homes in specific neighborhoods essentially created African-American districts. And for the past 44 years, blacks have represented without interruption City Council districts 8, 9 and 10 -- each containing large parts of historically black L.A.
But this was never true in the Valley.
Though most real estate agents would only sell Pacoima homes to blacks moving to the suburbs after World War II, the population was never large enough to dominate an electoral district.
The closest an African-American from the Valley has come to representing the community was when LeRoy Chase missed qualifying for the 1993 general election for District 7 by 646 votes.
"I wasn't disappointed at all," said Chase, president and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. of the Boys & Girls Club Girls Club is a 2002 American television series created by David E. Kelley, who was also it's producer and executive producer. Only two out of a total of thirteen episodes created were broadcast on Fox Television in the United States and Global Television in Canada. of San Fernando Valley San Fernando Valley
Valley, southern California, U.S. Northwest of central Los Angeles, the valley is bounded by the San Gabriel, Santa Susana, and Santa Monica mountains and the Simi Hills. . "When I ran for office, I told people I couldn't lose. They didn't believe me. But if I won, I would have had a different job. ... If I didn't win, I was still a winner because of the P.R. that was generated for the Boys & Girls Club."
By that time, blacks had begun fleeing the Valley in search of more affordable lives in the Antelope Valley This article is about the Los Angeles County region. For the census-designated place in Wyoming, see Antelope Valley-Crestview, Wyoming.
The Antelope Valley , the Inland Empire In·land Empire
A region of the northwest United States between the Cascade Range and the Rocky Mountains, comprising eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, northern Idaho, and western Montana. Farming, lumbering, and mining are important to the area. and out of state. The exodus accelerated citywide as the '90s wore on.
Accounting for 14 percent of L.A. residents in 1990, according to census data, the African-American population fell to 9.9 percent two years ago. Meanwhile, historically black neighborhoods became predominantly Latino. (The 2000 U.S. Census found Pacoima, once predominantly black, was 83 percent Latino.)
And yet African-American political power has sustained.
In addition to holding three council seats since 1963, blacks have traditionally filled three L.A. congressional seats, two in the state Senate, four to six in the Assembly and one on the school board. And 14 years ago, Yvonne B. Burke was elected to join the five-member county Board of Supervisors The examples and perspective in this article or section may represent an unduly geographically limited view of the subject.
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"People have been prophesying the decline of black power now for the last 20 years and it just hasn't happened," said Fernando J. Guerra, director of Loyola Marymount University's Center for the Study of Los Angeles. "Mostly, because reapportionment reapportionment: see legislative apportionment. has created viable districts, black voters come out to vote and black candidates have been good crossover candidates."
In 1973, when Tom Bradley was elected L.A.'s first black mayor, it wasn't just because he got the black vote, but also the Jewish vote and the Westside liberal vote.
"And it wasn't just the vote," said Raphael J. Sonenshein, author of "Politics in Black and White: Race and Power in Los Angeles." "That was just the beginning of it. It was the whole notion of coalition, and that became symbolic for his ability to win citywide."
But after Bradley left office in 1993, after the Rodney King riots and increasing accusations of black anti-Semitism nationwide, the groups parted ways.
Now, blacks and Jews are competing for a rapport with Latinos, said Sonenshein, a political science professor at California State University, Fullerton California State University, Fullerton, commonly known as CSUF, CSU Fullerton, or Cal State Fullerton, is a part of the California State University system. The University is located in the city of Fullerton, California, in northern Orange County. .
"But the big question is: Can (blacks) form partnerships with Latinos?" Hogen-Esch said. "There is a tremendous amount of tension in these neighborhoods undergoing transition. All you need to do is look at the kids in these schools in South Los Angeles South Los Angeles is the official name for a large geographic and cultural area lying to the southwest and southeast of downtown Los Angeles, California. The area was formerly called South Central Los Angeles, and is still sometimes called South Central. where the kids are rioting. It is an indication of social tension, as is the rioting in the prisons."
Black politicians who recently have demonstrated the ability to rise quickly have been successful at bridging the communities. Like Assembly Majority Leader Karen Bass.
In 1990, Bass founded the Community Coalition in South L.A., a grass-roots organization with a broad mission to fight poverty, racism and joblessness. Not just for blacks but all living in the area.
Supported by blacks, Latinos and Jews, she entered politics in 2005 to represent the 47th Assembly District, which runs from Leimert Park to Koreatown to Westwood.
"I have no problem focusing on African-American issues," Bass said. "But focusing on African-American issues does not mean that is the only thing operating in my brain."
With Assemblyman Richard Alarcon running for the Northeast Valley's City Council District 7, his 39th Assembly seat could be the next opportunity for a black Valley politician.
A competitive candidate, political analysts said, would be a coalition builder a la Bradley and Bass, campaign on community issues and have broad appeal. Race, black Valley leaders said, should neither help nor hurt.
"The Valley is bigger than the color line now," said Mel Wilson, a black businessman who ran for Valley mayor during the 2002 secession effort. "And I don't think it would be difficult for an African-American to garner enough of the vote if they decided to run for office for any or all of the San Fernando Valley.
"From my perspective, the Valley thinks more in line of what is this person's activities in the community."