Monday, February 28, 2011

City Paper cover story on Hispanics in politics

The cover story of this week's Nashville City Paper explores the political potential of many of Nashville's Hispanic leaders.  It starts and ends with a very nice description of Fabian Bedne, who is running for a seat on the Metro Council, to represent District 31.  (Bedne was not photographed for the article to avoid giving the impression of an endorsement by the paper. I don't know how much sense that makes, but I may be biased - I'm helping Bedne with his campaign web site.)

The City Paper story (here) points out that 8.7% of Nashville is Latino, but no Latino has ever been on the Metro Council, the city's governing body.

I am quoted in the article as identifying one barrier to proportionate Latino representation:
John Lamb, editor of the website Hispanic Nashville, said eight out of every 10 Latinos in Tennessee are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants.

“So right off the bat, the other two out of 10 are not going to be serving on local boards or in office due to immigration status,” said Lamb, who is not Hispanic but has lived in South America and attended Spanish-speaking churches in Nashville. “Immigration and citizenship status decreases the available pool of prospective candidates for civic involvement.”
It's not necessary, and even harmful sometimes, to insert the subject of immigration to a story about Latinos, but when the story is about political underrepresentation, and there is an automatic exclusion of 20% of the governed, it just comes to mind.

I'm going to have to come back and update this post with a list of every Nashvillian named in the story - it's a long list.

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