Dispatches From Anaheimistan

A week after shootings that roiled the city, Anaheim still looks like a warzone

"We support their cause for justice," Rodarte explained. "We just had a different method."

The protest brought out union workers, religious groups, students and families, as well as Jose Moreno, who sits on Anaheim City School District's board of trustees. He said he's fed up with a City Hall that continually places deep-pocketed special interests over the needs of the community. "There are too many neighborhoods in Anaheim that have felt the indifference of a decade-and-a-half-long developing effort of only one part of our city," he said.

Other protesters say a flawed city election process caused tensions to burst. Currently, City Council races are city-wide, rather than district by district; not one Latino has ever won an election, despite the fact that cultural group makes up more than half of the population. "In my opinion, all of this is a result of a lack of representation," said Martin Lopez, recording secretary of UNITE HERE, which represents hundreds of union workers at the Disneyland resort and nearby hotels. "We need more district council members to provide representation of our communities."

But other protesters seemed more concerned with the recent violence than questions of representation. One marcher, Todd Spitzer, former assemblyman and current Orange County supervisor, represents affluent Anaheim Hills. "I've seen too many communities destroyed," he said, referring to how, as a child, he witnessed the destruction of his family business in East LA and, later, played a role in the 1992 Rodney King riots as a Los Angeles police officer. When asked whether he stood in solidarity with the protesters he was marching with, Spitzer responded, "That's a loaded term. I'm here to show that I'm supportive of the goals exemplified by this group—nonviolent social change."

As the protest came to a close, Rodarte said she felt the group's modest goal was accomplished. "Our goal was to bring all sides together in unity and peace. Step two is to set up small community forums where we can voice those opinions in an appropriate manner." (YN)

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