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Reporter

Riley Johnson reports on local government in Lincoln.

Hailed as a talented and diverse addition to the Lincoln City Council, Sändra Washington's appointment was a missed opportunity in the eyes of some. 

Romeo Guerra, who is the executive director of El Centro De Las Americas, didn't attack Washington's qualifications in his letter to the City Council expressing disappointment. 

Guerra said he believes Lincoln's Hispanic community again was left out despite having three candidates among 24 applicants for the City Council vacancy. 

Along with Guerra, community organizer Isabel Salas and Cathy Maestas Graham of the Lincoln Public Schools Employees Federal Credit Union had applied for the open at-large seat.

Candidate diversity was a strong factor several council members were considering. 

"Simply appointing people of color (while laudable) to represent all minorities does not address the issue of equity," Guerra wrote. 

The Latino community is one of the city's fastest-growing and largest minority populations, and for years it has been told that no quality applicants had applied, Guerra said. 

This was an opportunity missed, he said. 

"Oftentimes Latinos are cast as un-American and unwilling to become Americans," Guerra wrote. "When the opportunity presents itself, we are again denied the opportunity to participate and contribute to the overall community betterment. You cannot change the politics of Latinos until you change the culture in which Latinos are seen."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.

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