Wednesday, May 18, 2005

La Eleccion En Los Angeles

So we've got a new Latino mayor in L.A. I am more than a little interested. My parents met in L.A., where my Dad was going to school, I was born in Ventura, my first sports game was watching Wooden's Bruins beat the snot out of someone in Pauley Pavillion. I spent one to two months each year at grandma's crib in Hollywood, a welcome respite from Central America, I could indulge my passion for American TV and boast of watching "Empire" at Grumman's Chinese Theater to my little buddies. Those trips, simply reinforced my attachment to L.A., in the middle of crazy moves, I still am a Lakers and Dodgers fan, and I'm still P.O.d' about the Rams. Oh well. After college I spent some time mucking around Westwood - had a blast too.

Oh well, thats me. But what does this election mean for LA.? Latinalista seems pretty geeked about it, particularly since it was not a straight 'ethnic' vote that won it. I do agree, particularly since Villaraigosa had to get African-American votes, and even siphon off some of the Anglo vote from his opponent. I would not be surprised to see some of the young Mexican-American and Latino activists I met years ago in LA, around the mayor's campaign. Mostly native Angelinos, educated and poised, they were well hooked up with the Latino Dem organization. At this point, they are probably doing what earnest young people everywhere have done upon gaining power - hooking their buddies up with gigs.
Tell you what, I still think the Latinos in Chicago's Democratic party are still more influential and organized. It probably has a lot to do with Chicago's compact nature versus L.A.'s sprawl as well as the very set Latino politician's in Chicago have to be extremely adaptive, and have learned how to deal with just about everyone. It might have been Ray Frias who I saw on TV being greeted warmly with an hola amigo" by an elderly Polish couple.