Message to the Santa Barbara City Council

In a recent editorial (11-14-10), the L.A. Times reports that Latinos now have the longest life span (80.6 yrs.) in the U.S. and that Latino diets and life habits are being studied by reputable institutions to see if there is a clue there that would help other people live longer. (In my mind’s eye I can see scientists peering through microscopes at tacos and enchiladas looking for any ingredients that might prolong human life).

Latinos are also the fastest growing group in the U.S. and also living longer, accounting for half of recent U.S. population growth. They now outnumber all other minorities in 191 U.S. metropolitan areas and CNN, in reporting the findings, concluded that these developments had long-term social, economic and political implications for the country and, I might add, for Santa Barbara.

An yet, the Santa Barbara City Council, in the recent process of filling a vacant Council seat, refused to acknowledge the presence of 33,000 plus Latinos in the city. Of the nine Latinos applying for the position, not one of them was included when the Council pared the list of 49 down to ten or twelve applicants. It was a bitter pill for Latinos to swallow.

But the political patricians and Brahmins of Santa Barbara will someday have to confront a Latino majority which will well remember that they had been effectively excluded from the local decision making process. If I may paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, fervently do I pray that the year-end city elections will rectify the recent short sighted and potentially disastrous City Council decision.

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