Anaheim community leaders appealed on Tuesday to the City Council to address the issue of Latino representation on the council in the wake of two fatal police shootings that have sparked protests and clashes with police that have caught national attention.
The group, Orange Counties Communities Organized for Responsible Development, says the city should have eight districts, not four and that council members should come from those geographic districts.
“This is not rocket science when 53 percent of the population belongs to a particular ethnic group and none of them are ever represented in the city,” said Shakeel Syed, the executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California.
“So the leaders here -- they are good people -- but they are not in touch and they are not connected to the underlying malaise that exists in the city that, in fact, has resulted in the tragedies that occurred in the city of Anaheim.”
The ACLU filed a lawsuit last month asking for a fairer voting process that would allow for more Latino representation in the city.
The council was set to vote on a similar districting issue last Tuesday when the protests over the police shootings broke out. The vote was postponed.
Critics of the lawsuit say the city has had Latino representation and sya that not all council members are white and that Councilwoman Lorri Galloway is Latina and Filipina.
Still proponents contend the way the city is set up now does not allow for fair representation.
The lawsuit asks for the specific districts, then the issue must be put before the voters to change the city charter.
The issue was thrust into the spotlight after after Anaheim police fatally shot two suspected gang members, both of whom were Latino.
On July 21 police fatally shot Manuel Angel Diaz during a foot chase. He was unarmed.
Tensions were heightened when Anaheim police fatally shot a second man, Joel Acevedo, in a separate incident the next day. On Friday, police shot at but did not hit a burglary suspect.