Annual Conference Symposium Focuses on California’s Changing Demographics and Local Leadership Challenges

Local officials know that the face of California’s communities is changing, and these trends present both challenges and opportunities:

  • As of 2004, first-generation immigrants constituted more than a quarter of the state’s population, and second-generation immigrants were another 21 percent.
  • Forty-nine percent of the children in California between the ages of 12 and 17 have an immigrant parent.
  • By 2012, naturalized adults, naturalization-eligible immigrants and young-adult citizen children of immigrants could represent 7.7 million voters in California – 29 percent of the electorate.

For its Fourth Annual Symposium Luncheon at the League’s 2008 annual conference, the Institute for Local Government presents University of Southern California Professor Manuel Pastor, Ph.D., who will share his perspectives on these trends and the opportunities and challenges they present for local officials. He will include a focus on newcomer integration, leadership development and community-building to support the long-term well-being of California’s communities.

Pastor is professor of geography and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California and director of its Program for Environmental and Regional Equity. He speaks frequently on issues of demographic change and community empowerment and has contributed opinion pieces to the Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, Los Angeles Business Journal and Christian Science Monitor. His recent books include Staircases or Treadmills: Labor Market Intermediaries and Economic Opportunity in a Changing Economy and Regions That Work: How Cities and Suburbs Can Grow Together. The California Center for Regional Leadership recognized Pastor with its Civic Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2002.

The symposium will be held Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008, from 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m. The symposium registration fee is $45. To register now, visit or contact Carmen Pereira, program assistant; phone: (916) 658-8208; e-mail:

A follow-up workshop will be conducted at the conference after the symposium for those interested in further discussing these issues. Representatives of New American Media and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees and others will discuss opportunities, challenges and resources for local officials to support immigrant integration and engagement in their cities. The workshop will be held from 2:20-3:45 p.m. No special registration or sign-up is needed for this session.

This symposium and workshop are made possible through the support of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund; the van Loben Sels/RembeRock Foundation; Zellerbach Family Fund; Rosenberg Foundation and The California Endowment.

This article appears in the September 2008 issue of Western City
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