Los Angeles Needs a New Generation of Latino Leaders

Guerrero: L.A. needs a new generation of Latino leaders

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti gives a shout out to the new Latino generation during his keynote speech for the Latino Chamber of Commerce at the Los Angeles Convention Center June 23, 2014. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Los Angeles Times )

More than a mere bunch of Hispanics, L.A. has plenty of Latinos: Latinos who live here and Latinos who run for office. But Los Angeles needs to find another generation of Latino leaders to help it reinvent itself as a global city and a national draw for world-class industries.

The Latino business community and government officials who want to help the region develop and grow are making a concerted effort to bring in a new generation of Latino leaders and build better relationships with the community, but they also need to be vigilant about the future and the importance of diversity.

A new generation of Latino leaders in L.A.

The problem isn’t that there simply aren’t enough Latino leaders in L.A. The problem is that the people who already live here — the ones who run businesses, speak at events, serve as elected officials and fill key senior positions in communities — are too old, too white and too male.

That’s the case with Mayor Eric Garcetti, who wants to be president of the United States and who needs everyone, and especially people of color, to come out of the woodwork. But it’s also the case with current City Councilmember Paul Koretz. Koretz is an immigrant who speaks English with a Spanish accent. He is married to a Latina, and he’s gay and part of a generation that remembers the Vietnam War, which he describes as more brutal than World War II.

Garcetti and Koretz would have plenty of Latino support — the latest Latino politician to endorse Garcetti’s campaign was David Martinez, the U.S. representative from Baja California, who went from supporting Jesse Robredo of Texas to endorsing Garcetti. But with many Latinos of a different generation and gender, they fall short of the ideal the Latino community wants to see

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