Op-Ed: Racial divides in Los Angeles politics are wrong morally and pragmatically
The most important thing to say about the Los Angeles City Council race is that this is not the last election cycle it will be in which candidates are in the running to replace retiring incumbents. On the race for mayor, the four candidates — Antonio Villaraigosa; former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; City Controller Wendy Greuel; and Councilman Bernard C. Parks — who are running for the office, all have, in a word, “experience.”
The most important thing to say about the election in which Councilmember Ron Dellums is in the race to replace retiring Councilmember Tom LaBonge is that if he wins, he will be the most experienced candidate for the most important office in the city, because this is his first run for elective office.
But the most important thing to say about the race is that racial and economic divisions are wrong and have to be addressed.
At a time when many in the African American community, as a percentage of the population, find themselves on the wrong side of a historic recession, it is very important that we remember that we have a responsibility to address racial injustice in our communities. As I told my children when they asked the simple but profound question, “What do white people have?” “What do black people have?”
I want to share my thoughts on these matters with you in this Op-Ed and encourage you to take a deeper look at them.
First, let us address the most obvious: race. The most important thing to say about the mayor’s race is that it is a generational election. If you want to win the election for mayor, you have to be able to bring to the ballot box the votes of your children and grandchildren. They may not vote, as a matter of fact, but they will be involved.
Most of those who came of voting age in the 1970s