I attended the same MAPA (Mexican-American Political Assn.) endorsing convention as your reporter. ("Woo Wins Endorsement of Prominent Latino Group," March 14). MAPA's endorsement, however, shows that what the candidates said Saturday night, and their records to date, had no effect on who was finally endorsed. On a larger scale, the endorsement illustrates dilemmas facing minority political groups jockeying for access to power.
Saturday night, a smiling Councilman Michael Woo espoused positions alien to the Latino community. Woo opposed the rights of legal residents to vote in school board elections. By contrast, Julian Nava supported those voting rights, and received cheering approval from the audience. And yet an absolute majority of MAPA convention voters endorsed Woo for mayor. Woo announced a new group, Latinos Unidos for Woo. The flyer distributed at the convention stated that Woo had asked LUW to formulate a list of issues important to the Latino community. By comparison, Nava--a Mexican-American--doesn't have to ask about Latino issues in Los Angeles--he has lived them. And still MAPA endorsed Woo.
MAPA's endorsement does not reflect a significant embracing of Woo's candidacy for mayor by the Los Angeles Latino community. Instead, MAPA's endorsement reflects the not-very-surprising ability of LUWistas (given Woo's ample resources) to organize a majority among the 180 convention voters.