After a year of long-simmering unease, activists are once again making their voices and disgust heard in Anaheim, where reforms have come slowly. Many who continue to attend Council meetings and take to the streets in protest say that the baby-step reforms are inadequate to address the underlying issues.
Many now perceive Anaheim as a split city. The recent census helped identify the two different “Anaheims.” Anaheim Hills is home to all of the members of the City Council and is more affluent and largely white. The “Flatlands” is the poorer section of the City and is largely Latino. The lack of representation has resulted in an ACLU-sponsored lawsuit challenging the City’s voting system. That lack of representation, activists say, also manifests itself in how and where the City spends money. They point to the disproportionate number of parks in the Hills, as opposed to those in the Flatlands for one example.
It’s been a year since a police shooting brought many of the issues to the forefront of the public dialogue that can often look more like a one-sided shouting match than a true conversation. In that year, Anaheim’s City Council has rejected activists’ calls to establish a district-based voting system, instead turning the decision over to a Citizens’ committee. The Council then rejected the committee’s recommendation to put the question before voters. Instead, they adopted a hybrid-district system, where district-based candidates are elected in citywide votes. Many say the plan doesn’t go far enough.
Relations between the City’s police force and its Flatland residents are improving under the tutelage of interim Police Chief Raul Quezada. The Chief and the department in general are taking time to explain actions, methods, and policies. They are also more accessible for complaints and discussing the challenges facing the City.
However, on the one-year anniversary of the shooting death of 25-year old Manuel Diaz, many would say there’s still far to go.
Read the full article at the Los Angeles Times.