Saturday, July 29, 2017

Racial gerrymandering lawyer demands Encinitas change to district elections

Coast News:
Encinitas has become the latest target in a series of demands for North County cities to abandon citywide elections in favor of electing council members by district.

And if history is any indication, Encinitas will be the latest city to begrudgingly make the electoral change.

The city received a legal demand letter from the law firm Shenkman & Hughes, the same firm that has targeted San Marcos, Oceanside, Vista and Carlsbad in recent months.

Attorney Kevin Shenkman, in the letter dated July 14, asks the city to voluntarily change its citywide election system or face litigation. Shenkman argues that the citywide voting violates the California Voting Rights Act because it dilutes the voting power of the city’s Hispanic residents — who comprise 13.7 percent of the city’s 63,000 population.

Shenkman’s firm, which represents a voting rights organization for Latinos, made similar demands in the four aforementioned cities.

In each case, the city chose voluntarily to create districts for future elections — including at least one district whose population has a Hispanic majority — as opposed to fight them in court.
Would it even be possible to draw a district with a Hispanic majority? Encinitas Hispanics don't all live in the same part of town.

As odious as the motivation to divide residents by racial background is, district elections could be a good thing if they result in the election of more neighborhood activists over candidates promoted by the county political parties.

25 comments:

  1. Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a race.

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  2. Another group of bottom feeders looking for a settlement. There are towns where this is a legit issue. Not this one.

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  3. How would it even be done?

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  4. How is possible they beat Marco to making these charges? He must be slipping.

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  5. It doesn't appear possible to create a majority Hispanic district in Encinitas. With a population of around 63,000, Hispanics total less than 9,000 and are not concentrated in a single area. The mayor is elected citywide. This leaves four council persons to be elected in four districts of around 15,750 each. Even carrying gerrymandering to the most absurd extreme wouldn't create the desired district.

    The only solution would be to increase the number of council members. But this would dilute the power of any elected Hispanic because it would take a larger number of council votes to form a majority. Is this political correctness gone crazy?

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    Replies
    1. Encinitas could, of course, extend voting rights to the thousands of undocumented Hispanic day workers who daily loiter near Home Depot. They vote anyway, that's why Trump said he lost in California.

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    2. Illegal aliens and non-citizens vote in local elections in some cities in Maryland.

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    3. Aug 6: Prove that with a link to some facts (and not "alternative" ones, please).

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  6. Our own Dark Knight claimed the same thing when he spoke before council, telling them and everyone, that this community was racist because the strong majority of the community voted down the developer giveaway that Measure T was all about.

    He threatened the city by stating that they could save a half million bucks by ignoring the voters and approving Measure T behind their backs, or else he would sew.

    Now there is some democracy from our very own Marco. Aren't we fortunate to have such citizens here amongst us? Recently, Lisa pronounced the same thing. Not so strange bedfellows and both deserve each other.

    This fine community does not deserve either of them for protecting all of our futures here from the ravages of Meyer and their kind.

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    1. Is Marco a tailor? Is his wife a seamstress? Why would he threaten to sew if the council didn't adopt Measure T?

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  7. 10:41am. $$$$$$$$$ is the answer you are seeking.

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    1. Does sewing pay well?

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  8. Perhaps he should take up sewing. This community would be better off if he did.

    Suing. OK. Hope you got the intent. Ridicule is the intent.

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  9. we should split the city into five districts that reflect the 5 community identities. Olivenhain, Cardiff, old Encinitas, Leucadia and new Encinitas.

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    1. We'd have to go back to a rotating mayor. Can't have an elected mayor plus 5 council--it would be an even number.

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    2. Is there a law or regulation prohibiting an even number? Or is it just a belief or concern that an even number would result in tie votes? I am just looking for clarification of the statement "Can't have an elected mayor plus 5 council ...". Is there a law against an even number, or only a matter of convention and common sense?

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    3. How many council members do we need or want? Can more chairs be jammed in? We're gonna need a bigger town!

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    4. Don't know if there is a law. But it is common sense to avoid tie votes.

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    5. They could jam in 1 more big chair and vote by 5 districts, with the at-large mayor voting only to break ties, like when a member is absent. But it wouldn't solve the racial issue.

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    6. I like the idea. However, the population would vary a lot by district, giving some disproportionate power.

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    7. Many of our Commissions are required to have one member from each of our 5 communities. Traffic & Public Safety has these 5 plus 2 at large, so there is a solid precedent here.

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  10. No racial gerrymandering there. I like it!!!!

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  11. The City could have one council member from each of our five "districts," plus one at large, and also, the mayor, which would also be at large. That would be a total of seven votes, so not an even number. Salaries and pension benefits should be kept to a minimum. These should be more akin to honorary offices, not career positions. The car allowances given are excessive for people who live within the city. Also, council members receive additional income, monthly stipends, from their positions on other Boards, such as SANDAG, NCTD, and MWD.

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  12. Leave it at 5 members.

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  13. Just when you think the Council is trying to be on the up and up, they bring you back to reality. On Wednesday's Council agenda is item 10B that is about improvements on Santa Fe Drive. But, start reading the staff report and learn that the $50,000 Consultant Dan Burden recommends the Council adopt the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Street Design Guide as a citywide policy. Most of the manual is what residents rejected in 2011. Another smart growth manual for traffic curculation.
    Then there is the narrowing of the traffic lanes from 12 feet to 10 feet as a citywide policy on all streets with 35 mph or less.
    Consultant Dan Burden has offered up a regular feast of changes a la smart growth.

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