Sun, Jul

When Republicans AND Democrats Play the Race Card, Something is Seriously Wrong


THE EASTSIDER - When Stephen Miller sends out racial attack like I received today, what else is new. 

When canvassers for Democrats running for office do the same, something is really broken in our election system. 

Here’s the story.  On October 30th, some volunteers for Wendy Carrillo and Jimmy Gomez were out and about in Council District 1 territory, doing the usual get out the vote duties.  When they stopped at the house of recently elected Eunisses Hernandez, they made the usual pitch to vote for their candidates, which is cool.  

Then, however, they felt compelled to say something to the effect that “You know their opponents are Asian, don’t you?” They then stated that they were just “sharing information” and moved down the street. 

These remarks obviously were aimed directly at Mia Livas Porter, a candidate for State Assembly District 52 against Wendy Carrillo, and David Kim, a local candidate for the 34th Congressional District, running against Jimmy Gomez. 

For those who don’t already know, Mia is Filipina American, and David is Korean American.  It is also no surprise that both races are highly competitive, and the incumbents were forced into a runoff for both offices. Thus, there is a serious chance that the incumbents could lose the elections, and I can understand playing hardball. 

Still.  As a political junkie, I’m a member of both the Northeast Democratic Club (NELA), which has been around since the ’50’s, and the more recent East Area Progressive Democrats (EAPD).  In and around the club meetings, I have heard the refrain many times that Northeast LA assembly and congressional seats should be Latino.  

If my recollection is correct, until the latest demographics for AD52, it was true that there was about 70% Latinos in the district, as claimed by Wendy Carrillo and her team..On the other hand, having volunteers still talk about 70% Latino, and references that the District will always be Latino, is simply untrue. 

After redistricting and gentrification, the 12-20-21 data estimates are - 50.3% Latino, 30.8% White, 15% Asian, and 2.7% Black.  This with a standard deviation of 4.9. 

These issues have been highlighted by 3 LA City Councilmembers, as we recently witnessed in a very unflattering tape recording of Nury Martinez, Kevin DeLeon, and Gil Cedillo. 

The truth is, until Los Angeles gets honest equitable Council Districts, these pontifications will be with us. In the meantime, it is noteworthy that neither the Carrillo Campaign or the Gomez Campaign have reached out to Mia Livas Porter or David Kim. 

In addition, per several tweets which were sent to me, this discourse was not a one off. Anyhow, for those who are interested, there is a joint Tweet from the Kim and Porter campaigns which you can find here. 

The Takeaway

I would certainly hope that Angelenos can do better than this. With the election upon us next week, it’s way beyond the scope of this article to talk about how we all really need to work together. But after the election, the troops and the elected officials here in Northeast LA need to work together in the face of impenetrable City and Sacramento politics. 

For now, I will merely note that Mia Livas Porter and David Kim have run very inclusive campaigns, stressing unity and coalition building.


(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.)