Garden Grove: Latino Candidates Still Under Performed With District Election

Last year the Mexican Americans Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) threaten to sue the City of Garden Grove because of “The inability of Latino voters to select candidates of their choice is due to racially polarized voting in at-large elections that violate the California Voting Rights Act…

Then Rickk Montoya, a failed city council candidates in 2014, also filed his own lawsuit alleging the city’s at-large election system dilutes the power of Latino voters.

Garden Grove settled the lawsuit and created a new system of electing its leaders: a citywide directly elected mayor and six council members with each representing 1/6 of the city.

However, the recent election results was a huge disappointment for the Latino community and its candidates. Here is a breakdown of the demographics of each district and the winner of each race.

DISTRICT 1 (White)
Incumbent: Kris Beard was not up for re-election.
Demographics: White – 45.8% / Asian – 29.1% / Latino – 22.0%

DISTRICT 2 (Swing)
Winner: John O’Neil ran unopposed for his city council seat
Demographics: White – 27.9% / Asian – 34.2% / Latino – 34.8%

DISTRICT 3 (Asian)
Winner: Thu-Ha Nguyen
Loser: Clay Bock
Demographics: White – 17.8% / Asian – 54.6% / Latino – 24.8%

DISTRICT 4 (Asian)
Incumbent: Phat Bui was not up for re-election
Demographics: White – 13.9% / Asian – 55.1% / Latino – 28.6%

DISTRICT 5 (Latino)
Winner: Stephanie Klopfenstein
Loser: Demian Garcia-Monroy
Demographics: White – 19.5% / Asian – 28.4% / Latino – 49.0%

DISTRICT 6 (Latino)
Winner: Kim Bernice Nguyen
Loser: Rickk Montoya
Demographics: White – 10.4% / Asian – 24.8% / Latino – 62.5%

Clearly there is one “White” district, one “Swing” district, two “Asian” districts, and two “Latino” districts.

John O’Neil ran unopposed in the swing District 2, which is a “pick up” for the Caucasian community that is heavily concentrated in West Garden Grove.

Thu-Ha Nguyen was expected to win the heavily Asian District 3.

The defeat of Demian Garcia-Monroy at the hand of Stephanie Klopfenstein in District 5 must be the biggest disappointment for the Garden Grove Latino community in this election. District 5 was drawn for a Latino candidate but Klopfenstein worked harder as a candidate.

Kim Bernice Nguyen defeated Rickk Montoya in District 6 where the population is overwhelmingly Latino. Even though Kim Nguyen’s mother is a Latina, she still ran with her Vietnamese last name, and won!

Creating a Latino district does not guarantee that the Latino candidate will win if his or her community does not come out to vote.

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