Los Angeles' Latino political leadership will pressure county supervisors at their Tuesday meeting to settle the multimillion-dollar redistricting lawsuit against the county immediately and pave the way for a Latino to succeed Supervisor Pete Schabarum.
The decision came Sunday night at the end of a 2 1/2-hour meeting called by the Latino community's senior elected officials to set strategy in the wake of Schabarum's decision not to seek reelection to the First District seat he has held for 18 years.
For the time being, the group of 26 officials and political activists held off endorsing any particular candidate until potential challengers better assess their chances.
But the group, led by Congressman Esteban Torres (D-Pico Rivera) and Los Angeles City Council members Gloria Molina and Richard Alatorre, will ask the board Tuesday to rearrange Schabarum's predominantly Anglo district to include more Latino neighborhoods.
The move reflects worry among Latinos that Schabarum's last-minute move may have threatened the ability of prominent Latinos to seek the seat. Of those who are considering a run, Alatorre and Molina--who both live outside the district--could not file for office unless the lines were redrawn. Torres may not be able to run because he has filed for reelection to Congress.
Latino voting strength is at the heart of the redistricting suit now being heard in federal court in Los Angeles. The U.S. Justice Department, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund allege that the supervisors had broken up Latino communities among three districts to keep Latinos off the influential board.