Latino lawsuit can proceed

Latino residents in south and west Modesto will get another chance in court to force the city and Stanislaus County to improve municipal services in their neighborhoods.

Judges at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal this week declined to throw out a lawsuit that charges the city and county discriminate against the neighborhoods, leaving the government agencies to answer for:

Comparably slow law enforcement response times in the Latino neighborhoods. It takes longer for a regional dispatch agency to steer an emergency responder to those neighborhoods than it takes to direct an officer to mostly white neighborhoods, according to data from 2004.

A municipal annexation policy that the Latino residents in the lawsuit allege discriminates against them.

Alleged discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, which the plaintiffs are trying to use to compel the government agencies to pay for better public services. They argue that a lack of sewers and sidewalks constitutes continuing discrimination against them.