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Grandview council sees little validity in report that concludes Latinos not well represented in political process

GRANDVIEW - Last night's Grandview City Council study session discussion centered around a report from a college student regarding representation of Latinos on political councils and boards.

The report claims the lack of voting by districts under-represents the Hispanic population in some communities, including Grandview.

In Sunnyside, the report led to the formation of a six-member panel appointed to research the possibility of electing city councilmen by districts.

"I don't know if this is an issue on the front burner for residents of Grandview and that's what I'm worried about," said Mayor Norm Childress last night.

At the beginning of the discussion, Councilman Javier Rodriguez said that the author of the report, Ian Warner, called him a couple of weeks ago. Rodriguez said that he told Warner that he grew up in the area and didn't feel that Hispanics want to be involved. But, he added, he did tell Warner that if switching election procedures is what it would take to increase involvement, it should be considered.

Grandview resident Dale Burgeson voiced his opinion during the session and said that after looking around his neighborhood and others, he didn't feel that districting would help because the neighborhoods are well mixed.

In Warner's report, the college student says the low turnout of Latino voters demonstrates the lack of resources and interest being devoted to voter mobilization efforts in Sunnyside. This prompted discussion of mobilization efforts in Grandview.

"I think we need to mobilize everyone, not just the Latino population," said Councilwoman Jan McDonald.

City Administrator Scott Staples suggested adding to the city website information about where and how people can register to vote. In Grandview, one can register at City Hall or the library, and the form is available in both English and Spanish.

"Until someone comes from our own community that feels they're under-represented, I feel we're doing the best we can do to serve the community," said Childress.

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