SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (1/18/08)--A credit union vice president is heading up the public launch of an organization designed to bring more Hispanics into leaderships roles in California. A substantial Hispanic community exists, but does not have a voice in regional business affairs, said Maurice Calderon, vice president for minority development at the $1.072 billion asset, San Bernardino-based Arrowhead CU. The Empire Hispanic Leadership Council began meeting in May and is ready to begin operations to influence discussions of economic, education, health and transportation issues and to help mold policy (The Press Enterprise Jan. 16). The council--having already helped organize business expos and workshops--also will develop and maintain a database of Latino-owned businesses. San Bernardino and Riverside counties have a 44% Hispanic population, according to 2006 U.S. Census estimates--up from 38% in 2000. Despite being a significant segment of the population, few Latino’s are part of influential business and civic groups, Calderon said. The problem has been that leaders of business and civic groups tend to select people who most look like them, Calderon said, adding that not enough Latinos have attempted to get involved.