Religion has long played a role in the development of Latino politics. In today’s Los Angeles Times reporter, Cathleen Decker uses the expected retirement of Cardinal Roger Mahony as an opportunity to reflect on the development of Latino politics in Los Angeles and the larger state of California.
“For decades, only one Latino held unquestioned public power: Edward R. Roybal, the first Latino to win a seat on the Los Angeles City Council. He spent 13 years there, then moved to Congress to serve 30 years, most of that time as the region’s only Latino representative.
“Now the power positions held by Latinos in the Los Angeles area are multiple and manifest. Besides the Mexico-born archbishop, who is in line to become the first U.S. prelate of Latino heritage to become a cardinal, there is the mayor. The speaker of the Assembly. The sheriff. A county supervisor. Several members of the City Council, of Congress, of the Legislature, of the Los Angeles school board. The head of the most influential civic entity, organized labor.”
The Los Angeles Times piece quotes this author:
Kenneth Burt, the author of “The Search for a Civic Voice,” a history of California Latino politics, credited Mahony for keeping peace in Los Angeles between groups seeking power and those afraid of losing it.
“He had a tremendous impact in empowering the Latino community and in sending a powerful signal that the rise of Latinos should not be seen as a threat,” he said. “Even though he’s Irish, he’s the first Latino cardinal in spirit.”
Check out the whole article on the Los Angeles Times website.