California / Santa Monica / Voting Rights Act

Santa Monica Spending Millions to Appeal Challenge to At-Large Districts

I have been appalled seeing the Santa Monica City Council spend millions fighting a lawsuit challenging the city’s at-large voting district under California’s Voting Rights Act and moving forward on a multi-million dollar appeal of the trial court’s ruling invalidating the City’s at-large districts.

Former Santa Monica Mayor Mike Feinstein wrote a column this week in the Santa Monica Daily Press that defended the status quo and attempted to whitewash its history.  Once he sent it to me on Twitter to respond to my earlier criticism of the appeal, I felt compelled to set the record straight in the following Twitter thread.

The biggest thing missing from Feinstein’s defense is one simple fact – in 72 years of at-large voting, the city has elected only one Hispanic candidate.  Just one.

For more on the history of at-large voting districts as a tool of discrimination: Facing South, Challenging the racism of at-large elections; Nonprofit Vote, The Bias of At-Large Elections: How it WorksSee also First Amended Complaint, Pico Neighborhood Association v City of Santa Monica (Feb. 21, 2017)

Santa Monica Lookout, City Officials Won’t Reveal Cost of Voting Rights Lawsuit Until Case is Closed