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L.A. Now Live: Discuss Anaheim unrest, racial divisions

July 26, 2012 |  8:16 am

Times staff writer Richard Winton will join City Editor Shelby Grad for a discussion about the protests in Anaheim and how police shootings have exposed racial rifts within the community.

The chat is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Thursday.

Of the city's estimated 340,000 residents 53% are Latino, and the protests have occurred in the city's flatlands, where many of those residents live. Most City Council members hail from the more affluent Anaheim Hills neighborhood to the east. The American Civil Liberties Union recently filed suit claiming the current at-large system of electing the council leaves Latinos poorly represented. The suit said that Anaheim has had only three Latino council members in its history.

Rusty Kennedy, executive director of Orange County Human Relations, said anger over the weekend shootings reflects wider woes in Anaheim's poorest communities, which suffer from unemployment, overcrowding and gang activity.

"It's a hot summer, school's out, and frustrations from the economy are certainly being felt," Kennedy said. "There are really good families in these neighborhoods that are just struggling to survive. They have fears their child will get in between the gang members and police."