When Isaac Galvan won a seat on the Compton City Council last month, the 26-year-old made history, becoming the first Latino elected to the council.
But as The Times’ Abby Sewell and Angel Jennings reported Monday, Galvan’s victory is already at risk of being eclipsed by questions about his failure to file any of the required campaign finance disclosures for the primary and runoff elections, as well as his decision to hire an aide with criminal convictions for political misconduct.
So far, it remains unclear whether the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission will open a formal investigation into Galvan, or even how much the political newcomer spent on his campaign and who contributed to it. But what is clear is that Galvan’s career in public service is off to a rocky start, and that is disappointing.
As The Times’ editorial board wrote last year, Compton has undergone a profound demographic change. Once a predominantly African American community, it is now nearly two-thirds Latino. Yet despite the growing numbers, a Latino had never won a seat in city government. That led three Latinas in 2010 to challenge Compton’s at-large voting system, under which officials in the city’s government were elected citywide rather than from districts. Compton officials fought the lawsuit but finally agreed to settle the case.
I’m not suggesting that anyone rush to judge Galvan. But I am wondering why he hasn’t moved swiftly to address the questions about his campaign funds, as well as his choice in an aide. So far, he has simply told reporters and the public to wait. That’s simply not a good enough response, not given how hard Latinos fought to win a seat at the City Council.