Pasadena was one of the first places in the country to be placed back under federal supervision after that 2013 ruling. So Saturday’s mayoral and city council elections were keenly watched by civil rights advocates.
Those hoping Pasadena could stand as a beacon for the political power of Hispanic voters on a level playing field were left disappointed, as left-leaning and Latino candidates enjoyed only limited success.
With a couple of runoff elections to come, it looks unlikely that voters in the city of 154,000 will effect a change that overcomes establishment dominance to install a set of leaders that truly reflects Pasadena’s ethnic diversity.
“It’s going to be a series of steps, it’s not going to be a magic process, it’s going to take time,” said Oscar Del Toro, a defeated candidate who was born in Mexico. “If you want to accomplish something you have to start from the beginning. So this is at the beginning.”