Friday, January 30, 2009

Where Have All the Latinos Gone

Dear Friends

Yesterday, I receive a call from my friend and fellow activist Marina Hernandez-Quiroz from the eastside inner loop area. As many of you know, Marina was East End Field Organizer with the Democratic Coordinated Campaign in the last election cycle and faced a huge challenge in the general election due to a large block of Clinton supporters in the East End.

As we talk to catch up on what we had both been doing since the election and what our future plan were, we found our self discussing the very issued that has been worrying every person that worked the November 4th General Election.

Where have all the Latino gone?

We both agree that the voter turn out in the historical Latino precincts were below expectation also we agreed that the false allegation that a Latino voter would not support an African American on the ticket was not the result of the low voter turn out.

This is a perplexing problem and in order to try to understand what may have contributed to this situation, I decided to conduct my own non-scientific poll. (I invite my readers and friends to do the same poll and send me your results)

The poll is simple:
  1. On a sheet of paper list 12 (One Dozen) persons that you grew up with. In my case, I grew up in the Denver Harbor area on the east side of the inner loop.
  2. Then, list where these folks live now (What part of the city/county/state).
  3. Asked these individuals if they voted in the last primary or general election. (You don’t have to ask who they voted for just if they voted).

The result may surprise you. In my case all the folks listed attended and/or graduated from schools in the Denver Harbor Area and hear are the results:

James- lives in Friendswood and voted in both the Primary and General Elections.
Joel- lives in Baytown and voted in both the Primary and General Election
Toni-lives in the outer loop (Eastside) and voted in both the Primary and General Election
Julie – lives in Atascocita/Humble Area and voted in both the Primary and General Election
Junior-lives in Katy and didn’t vote at all
Marcella-lives on the east end and voted in the Primary only.
Bellia-lives in Humble and voted in both the Primary and General Elections
Anna-lives in Aldine and didn’t vote
Tina-lives in Channelview and voted in both the Primary and General Election
Ismael-lives in Channelview and voted in both the Primary and General Elections.

What this small snapshot tells us, is due to a once growing economy and a more that generous mortgage market in past years, the generation of voting Latino that supported the candidacies of Ben Reyes, Felix Frada, Henry Cisneros and Lionel Castillo have now move to suburban neighborhoods.

My hope is that the participants of the Houston Area Latino Summit that will be held from 10 am to 1 pm, Saturday, February 14, 2009 in the Champions Pavilion at Minute Maid Park, will recognized this trend and plan according for the 2010 election cycle.

With the growing population of Latino residents in our community both in the inner city and in the suburbs it is vital that we all do our part to ensure our voices and the voice of all are children be they black, brown, white, yellow or purple be truly heard.

As always, I welcome your comments.

Joe A. Montemayor

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