NALEO Educational Fund Makes Final and Urgent Plea for Latinos to Apply for New Citizens Redistricting Commission
LOS ANGELES, -- On the eve of the deadline to apply for the state's new Redistricting Commission, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund made a final call today on qualified Latino civic and community leaders throughout California to step forward and apply to ensure Latino participation in this critical process.
"We have reached a crucial stage in the selection of the commissioners," said Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund Executive Director, "and we cannot afford to be left out."
The Citizens Redistricting Commission, created by the passage of Proposition 11 in 2008, will utilize 2010 Census data to redraw the state's legislative and Board of Equalization district boundaries. The fourteen-member Commission will be made up of five Democrats, five Republicans and four members from other parties or who declined to state their party affiliation. As of this morning, only 2,594 of the applicants are Latino – about 10.5% of the applicant pool. Latinos inCalifornia are about 20% of registered voters and more than 36% of the population.
This decade, Californians face countless challenges in their economy, their educational system and their health care. The Redistricting Commission offers Latinos an historic opportunity to ensure that they have a strong voice in choosing the leaders who will address these challenges.
"Members of this new Commission will make decisions that will affect the political representation of every community inCalifornia for the next decade," said Mr. Vargas. "Right now, this applicant pool does not reflect the diversity of this state's population and that should be very troubling to everyone."
Mr. Vargas pointed to a key factor that has led to low Latino participation - the broad and severely restrictive conflict of interest provisions in the selection process that have disqualified many Latinos who would normally have applied. Mr. Vargas noted, "Many of these provisions have no real impact on applicants' ability to be impartial - these unnecessary restrictions are preventing talented Latino civic leaders from serving on the Commission."
The Bureau of State Audits is managing the Commission selection process, and a panel of three state auditors will select the 60 finalists for the 14 Commission seats.
Mr. Vargas concluded, "California's Redistricting Commissioners must reflect the full diversity of the state's population. In order to achieve this important goal, we urge the Bureau and the panel to ensure that the composition of the applicant pool fully reflects this diversity during every stage of the selection process. Anything less is unacceptable."
For the past two months, the NALEO Educational Fund, and a coalition of advocacy groups, have aggressively campaigned throughout the state to increase Latino and other under-represented voter applicants to this process. The deadline for applications is Tuesday, February 16 at 5 p.m. You can apply to be a Commissioner directly online atwww.WeDrawTheLines.ca.gov.
About NALEO Educational Fund
The NALEO Educational Fund is the nation's leading non-partisan, non-profit organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.
Contact: Rosalind Gold (213) 747-7606, ext. 4420, firstname.lastname@example.org
Victor Abalos (818) 321-5371, email@example.com
SOURCE NALEO Educational Fund