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A Silent Majority


All is normal in the City of Santa Barbara. Anglo candidates, many from out of town, get the endorsements and ample financial support. For the one Latino candidate, no endorsements (not even a symbolic endorsement from elected Latino officials) and no money. In true Orwellian fashion, he has almost become a non-candidate.

At least one out-of-town candidate has a good idea: district elections. That would produce one, maybe two, Latino councilmembers and thereby bring the council closer to the idea of “we the people.” But then the local committees would lose their stranglehold on Santa Barbara politics as the districts asserted their independent influence and authority-precisely how the county, the state, and the federal government function together.

The 2010 census may well put the Latino population in the city close to 50 percent. (It was 35 percent in 2000). It is not unrealistic to suppose that in the foreseeable future someone may well ask the elected officials of Santa Barbara, to paraphrase Mohandas Gandhi: How does a future minority Anglo population hope to continue to govern a city with a majority Latino population? - Alberto Pizano

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