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New report shows Latinos and AAPIs underrepresented in California governor's appointees

By Selen Öztürk. Ethnic Media Services.

A new report finds that while Governor Gavin Newsom has achieved gender parity in appointments to his office, Latinos and AAPIs remain underrepresented.

SACRAMENTO, CA? A new report finds that while Governor Gavin Newsom has achieved gender parity in appointments to his office, Latinos and AAPIs remain underrepresented.

The report was released Monday by the nonprofit Hispanics Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), in response to last October's veto of SB702, the third version of a bill by Senator Monique Limón (D-19). which would require the Governor to create and publish an annual report on ?aggregate demographic information? of appointments made to the state's 420 boards, agencies, commissions and task forces.

Key results

The report found that "the rich diversity of California's population is not reflected in the demographic makeup of board members and commissioners appointed in 2023," based on publicly available self-reported data for 480 candidates appointed from January 2023 to 15 December 2023.

Non-Hispanic white Californians hold the majority of appointments with a 52%. Latinos (17,29%), Blacks (11,25%), AAPI (8,54%), and Native American Californians (2,29%) together represent 39%, and 9% are unknown.

For comparison, California's demographic breakdown is 34.7% non-Hispanic white, 40.3% Hispanic or Latino, 6.5% black, 16.8% AAPI and 1.7% Native American, according to estimates from the 2023 census.

A breakdown by race and gender of the 480 governors appointed in California between January 2023 and December 15, 2023. (Credit: Hispanics Organized by Political Equality)

47% of the appointments are for women and 52% are for men, and 1% belongs to the other or unknown category.

The report combines race and gender to show that white men represent 30% of appointments, white women 22%, black men 5%, black women 6%, Latino men 8.5%, Latina women 9% , AAPI men 3.5% and AAPI women 5%. %, Native American men 1% and Native American women 1%.

The report also finds that 63% of those named live in Northern California (41%) and the Bay Area (22%), with Los Angeles County at 15%; the Central Valley area, Inland Empire and Greater San Diego at 5% each; and Orange County and the Central Coast with about 3% each.

Most of the appointees are Democrats with a 71%, Republicans with a 9%, No Preference with a 18%, and Others with a 2%.

Precedents

Limón said Newsom "has been very intentional in ensuring diversity in his appointments": recently named the first Latina justice of the California Supreme Court in 2022 and approved SB54 in 2023, which requires venture capital firms to conduct demographic diversity reporting on the companies in which they invest. “The goal of reports like this is to replicate their success.”

“You can't fix what you can't see,” he added. When Newsom's term ends in 2027, "we will have a new governor and we want to make sure that the achievements his administration has seen are achievements that can be sustained."

Newsom's veto letter on his bill argues that because the demographic information specified in SB702 is provided by the candidates themselves, a report does not necessarily accurately reflect the diversity of appointees.

A breakdown by political affiliation and geographic residence of the 480 governors appointed in California between January 2023 and December 15, 2023. (Credit: Hispanics Organized by Political Equality)

However, the HOPE report responds that ?our state regularly uses self-reported data from many different state agencies for resources such as tax credits, disability insurance, and in the appointment of our judicial tribunals. We believe this report would be produced more accurately and efficiently if it came directly from the Governor's office—that is, if measures like SB702 were more common. This "would have practically no cost for the Administration, given that they already collect this demographic data."

At the state level, there is precedent for such a report. The Judicial Council of California, for example, publishes demographic data related to the gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran and disability status of magistrates and judges, and the proposed bill report by Limón also includes these metrics.

Among other states, Illinois , under Governor Pritzker, passed a measure similar to SB702 in 2015, and has since seen consistently more diverse appointments.

This emphasis on transparency is also gaining traction among local governments in California.

In 2023, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted a motion inspired by SB702 requiring the board to publish an annual appointment demographic report. The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors adopted a extent similar in 2021. Karen Bass, mayor of the city of Los Angeles, also intends to create a similar report.

Next steps

HOPE has stated that it will continue to track appointments in 2024.

In light of the findings of the 2023 report, Senator Limón has reintroduced her bill requiring an annual demographic report on gubernatorial appointments, in the format SB782, whose hearing is scheduled for January 11.

After three previous vetoes, "this will be our fourth attempt at this particular bill," Limón said. ?What we have seen over the last four years is that this is not a partisan issue, as evidenced by the strong bipartisan support this bill has received, particularly in the last year in the legislature.?

If California leadership does not "evaluate our progress, gaps in representation will continue to exist," he added. ?This report reiterates the need for demographic data to be publicly available. Should the work to promote transparency begin internally?

This publication was supported in whole or part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the CaliFornia State Library.

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Peninsula 360 Press
Peninsula 360 Presshttps://peninsula360press.com
Study of cross-cultural digital communication

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