Commentary

11/11/2013  by Ed Coghlan

New effort for Latino electeds launched in California

Calling today's generation of Latino elected leaders in California "The How Generation," California State Senator Alex Padilla told a group of local city and school board officials that "how we serve" is the way that Latino elected officials will and should be measured.

Padilla's comments came at the inaugural meeting of the newly formed Southern California Latino Policy Center, which drew around 60 Latino elected officials and others at East Los Angeles College on Saturday. Interestingly, several of the attendees were elected to public office for the first time just last Tuesday (November 5).

"We've created the Center to represent a new effort by local policy makers toward great accountability and a commitment to a higher standard of ethics and transparency," said Victor Abalos, Executive Director. "This outstanding turnout for our first event is an indication that these young elected Latino representatives are taking those standards seriously."

Most of the school board members who attended spent an hour discussing the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which puts more authority and responsibility for how educational dollars are going to be spent at the School Board level. Also discussing was the coming Common Core Curriculum and how improving student achievement as a goal looms for School Boards across California.

Most of the city officials were working on how local governments can define and execute local economic development projects in their cities. They were reminded that creating jobs in cities doesn't just mean finding and attracting new businesses, but also having a healthy attitude for existing businesses and a supportive environment for entrepreneurs.

The Center expects to meet quarterly and serve as a resource for three huge issues facing Californians generally and Latinos, in particular:

  •          Improving Educational Outcomes
  •          Addressing Critical Health Issues
  •          Creating Jobs and Local Economic Development

There are 14 million Latinos in the state and the Center's vision says that the development of a strong Latino middle class is vital to California's economic stability.

The Center is non-partisan and is open to any Latino elected official in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.

Padilla reminded them that 51 percent of Californians under the age of 18 are Latino and that California's future and that of Latinos are intertwined.

Abalos said he expects the next policy meeting to be held sometime in February and will build off the early success of the first session. 

Categories: Democracy, Elections, Californians

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