LULAC Florida Denounces Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners’ Redistricting Process for Disenfranchising Hispanics

WHEREAS, the League of United Latin American Citizens is this nation’s oldest and largest Latino organization, founded in Corpus Christi, Texas on February 17, 1929; and

WHEREAS, LULAC throughout its history has committed itself to the principles that Latinos have equal access to opportunities in employment, education, housing and healthcare; and

WHEREAS, LULAC has councils throughout Florida, including six councils in Hillsborough County; and

WHEREAS, Latino growth in the last decade in Hillsborough County was 70.6% (according to the 2010 US Census of Population), which significantly contributed to the overall population growth of the county; and

WHEREAS, Hillsborough County's Charter requires reapportionment of the County Commission's single member districts, 1 -4, every 10 years, after the US Census is completed; and

WHEREAS, equal representation has been denied to Latinos by the creation of District 3 under the Federal Voting Rights Act to be the only minority (African American) district in Hillsborough County; and

WHEREAS, BOCC "Criteria for Redistricting" establishes that BOCC "will maintain a County Commission district to maximize the opportunity for a minority representative to be elected" affording representation to only one minority – African American - denying equal opportunity for representation to the largest minority - Latinos; and

WHEREAS, the Latino population of over 306,600 is the largest minority group representing 25% of the population compared to the 16% African American population in the county; and

WHEREAS, Hillsborough County Hispanics formed a bi-partisan Hispanic Redistricting Initiative under the leadership of LULAC Districts 1 & 2, Democrat and Republican leadership, Latino Justice and in collaboration with numerous local Hispanic organizations in order to submit a Redistricting Map as a public proposal, known as Map I or the People's Map, which would create one district, District One, with over 36% of Latinos; and

WHEREAS, the public endorsement of Maps I and J, during the June 20,2011 Public Hearing was ignored by the Commissioners and voted 6 to 1 for Map G; and

WHEREAS, Map G voted for by the BOCC disregards and violates its own established "Criteria for Redistricting" which calls for the creating of compact and contiguous districts and, instead divides and weakens the Latino voting power; and

WHEREAS, in 2008 Amendments 5 & 6 were passed by 63% of Florida voters repudiating gerrymandering and Map G gerrymanders districts in favor of incumbents; and

WHEREAS, Hillsborough County is one of five counties in Florida that requires preclearance from the US Department of Justice before implementing redistricting and election laws; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that it is in the best interest of the US, Florida and local political subdivisions that LULAC intervene by denouncing to the US Department of Justice, (a) the redistricting schemes of the Hillsborough County BOCC that disenfranchise Latinos, (b) to hold these elected officials accountable for not following their own established criteria of compact and continuous districts, (c) demand that BOCC stop the unequal treatment of Latinos by immediately establishing criteria that recognize Latinos as another minority group thus affording the opportunity for Latino representation in county government.

Approved this 1st day of July 2011.

Margaret Moran
LULAC National President