On Tuesday night, without comment, the Anaheim city council agreed to pay $1.22 million in plaintiff attorneys fees related to a voting rights lawsuit seeking to require the establishment of council districts, and district level elections, in the city. The amount is on top of the $1.25 million in legal fees the city had incurred fighting the inevitable.
The Anaheim City Council voted unanimously last night to settle the California Voting Rights Act lawsuit challenging the legality of the at-large voting process used to elect the city council. The settlement requires that the city council place a charter amendment before the voters in November 2014 to establish by-district voting for city council elections beginning in 2016.
The ruling, dated last week, from Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark V. Mooney which orders new district based elections for the City of Palmdale. The ruling illustrates what the City of Anaheim may be looking at as an outcome of a similar suit filed alleging violations of the California Voting Rights Act caused by the at-large election of city council members.
Yesterday, Superior Court Judge Franz Miller, set a March 17, 2014 trial date for the Anaheim Voting Rights discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the ACLU on behalf of Anaheim Latino activists who claim that the current at-large system of electing city council members violates the California Voting Rights Act by suppressing the ability of Latinos to be elected in a city that is 53% Latino by population in favor a a wealthy and predominantly whit segment of Anaheim voters.
This past week, the ACLU, representing Amin David, Jose Moreno (who is an ACSD Trustee) and Consuelo Garcia announced they were suing the city of Anaheim, claiming the current way the City Council is elected shuts out minority representation. They also point out four of the five councilmembers live in Anaheim hills, which contains only 1/6 of the city’s total population.