LOS ANGELES, Feb. 11, 2009 — In 1959, of the 100 most important elected positions in the Los Angeles metropolitan area only one was held by a Latino, one by an African American and two by Jews.
Today, according to a new study from the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University, Latinos are now the dominant ethnic group among the region’s elected leaders with 33 officeholders followed by 29 Anglos, 19 Jews, 15 African Americans and 4 Asians.
Fernando Guerra, director of the Leavey Center, unveiled the study on the changing face of Los Angeles politics as part of the center’s Urban Lecture Series. The study’s findings were then discussed by Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks, former State Sen. Richard Polanco, former LAUSD Board Member Mark Slavkin and former City Councilman Michael Woo.
“This is the most-detailed study of the ethnic backgrounds of elected officials that has been collected, researched and analyzed,” said Guerra. “It gives us an in depth look at the enormous political and cultural change that has occurred in Los Angeles in a relatively short period of time and the events and influences that have contributed to it.”