The Swarm

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March 30, 2011
Sac redistricting panel will get Latino representation

A glitch became apparent in Sacramento's new citizens advisory committee on redistricting, but the City Council moved quickly Tuesday evening to try to fix it.

Once the mayor and each council member picked one member, and four others were nominated through the usual committee process, it turned out that there was not a single Latino on the panel.

Several Latino political and civic activists showed up at Tuesday's meeting to point that out -- and to urge the council to stand behind its pledge to have a committee that reflects Sacramento's diversity.

A "glaring omission," Councilman Kevin McCarty called it.

It also turned out, however, that no eligible Latino applicants stepped forward, apparently because the word didn't get out or because of confusion about the application process, or a combination of both.

At the suggestion of Councilwoman Angelique Ashby (who originally opposed creating the committee), the council voted unanimously to add two members to the panel, who presumably will be Latino. The deadline is April 3 to apply online, but even on an accelerated schedule, the change could delay the committee's first meeting, which had been scheduled for April 11.

The committee, designed to increase public input into the process, has its work cut out. Census figures show that the population imbalance among the eight districts is even larger than projected, meaning district lines will likely have to be adjusted even more. It's always a politically fraught process, and is likely to be more so with the divisions and rivalries on this council.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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