|Palmdale City Councilman Fred Thompson|
Thompson was elected to the Palmdale School Board and subsequently
appointed to the City of Palmdale Planning Commission.
Racism - The Wrong Race
is on the City Council
- Latino "activists" somehow managed to find three "discriminated against" residents willing to put their names on a multi-million dollar racism lawsuit and share in the settlement.
- The fact that an African American is on the city council means nothing to so-called Latino "activists". He is a member of the wrong race. So who are the real racists?
(Los Angeles Times) - Palmdale officials Wednesday night announced that they have agreed to major changes in their elections system, settling a widely watched lawsuit over minority representation and the California Voting Rights Act.
Until now, Palmdale was a lone holdout in a string of lawsuits filed against cities that resisted district voting, which backers say helps minority groups gain elected office.
The city agreed to align its balloting to coincide with state and federal general elections, starting in November 2016. It also agreed to have voters choose elected officials by four geographic districts, including two with Latino majorities, rather than from the city as a whole.
Palmdale also will pay $4.5 million plus interest to lawyers (editor - follow the money!!!) for the three minority plaintiffs who argued that the city's at-large voting system deprived them of opportunities to elect representatives of their choice.
The current City Council members will continue to serve until the next election, when the balloting for mayor — elected at large every two years — also will be held. Council terms can be staggered after that, according to the agreement.
The settlement represents the end of a three-year court battle and a major victory for voting rights activists.
Most cities, school districts and other jurisdictions targeted under the state's voting rights law have switched rather than wage costly court battles. Santa Barbara and Whittier are among the most recent cities to agree to change from at-large to by-district elections.
Jurisdictions vulnerable to lawsuits under the act generally have significant minority populations but few or no minority elected officials. In Palmdale, minorities make up almost 75% of the population, but candidates of color rarely have won a seat on the City Council.
Councilman Fred Thompson, an African American, said his 2013 election proved the lawsuit was “both unnecessary and disingenuous.”
Mayor Pro Tem Mike Dispensa called on the state Legislature to make changes in the voting rights law.
“This lawsuit has never been about race or voting rights,” Mayor Jim Ledford said, adding it “always has been about money and politics.” Ledford produced a list of 25 voting rights cases across California that he said have cost taxpayers more than $13.8 million.
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|Palmdale is in the northern Mojave Desert of Los Angeles County.|