Latino groups call on Common Council, mayor to reconsider city attorney opinion on district maps

NOW: Latino groups call on Common Council, mayor to reconsider city attorney opinion on district maps

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The fight over the future of the city of Milwaukee's district maps continued with a coalition of Latino groups calling on Common Council members to reconsider the city attorney's opinion on proposed maps which would create a third Latino-majority district.

"What happened Monday night through the opinion of the city attorney's office is wrong and is unjust," Darryl Morin of Forward Latino said.

Morin referred to a committee meeting in which new maps submitted by Latino groups were considered but were then labeled unlawful by the city attorney's office.

The groups said in a news conference Jan. 14 the attorney's office alleged the maps were formed with race as the predominating overriding factor.

Latino groups, including Forward Latino and Voces de la Frontera, disagreed and expressed frustration with the decision, saying it could diminish the voice of the city's growing Latino population.

"We call on Common Council members and the interim mayor to uphold democratic principles and fair representation for Latinos that have for decades have been ensuring growth and prosperity in Wisconsin and in Milwaukee," Voces Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz said.

On Jan. 18, the Common Council is set to vote on the first set of district maps that the chamber passed last year, but were vetoed by then-Mayor Tom Barrett. That map only has two districts where Latinos are the majority.

"Because of the opinion of the city attorney's office, there's not an appetite among many of our colleagues to do anything other than pass the original map," 8th District Ald. JoCasta Zamarripa told CBS 58 in an interview.

Latino groups delivered letters to council members Friday in an attempt to delay the process and have members receive counsel from outside legal sources that can offer differing opinions on the maps.

"What happens Tuesday remains to be seen, but certainly we are keeping our options open and we're wanting to continue to advocate for our Latino community here in Milwaukee," Zamarripa said.

"All legal analysis and advice provided by this office is generated by highly capable attorneys," City Attorney Tearman Spencer said in a statement to CBS 58. "Furthermore, I have personally reviewed their work in this regard, and I am confident that the advice provided was correct and complete."

Spencer's full statement and the letter by Latino groups to council members can be seen in full below.

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