May 24 roundup


  • Re: Palmdale. 1. No city has ever won by defending an at-large system. Thus, one could conclude that these systems are illegal under California law (Santa Monica notwithstanding). 2) The guy sends demand letters. He is not getting money when the towns change their systems. 3) This should be done by the state AG, but it is not. I do not know why. This is especially confusing as California AGs are generally portrayed as being very progressive/liberal.

    • “Thus, one could conclude that these systems are illegal under California law” – Well, by the letter of the law, they are only illegal under certain circumstances. Section 14027 of California law says: “An at-large method of election may not be imposed or applied in a manner that impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or its ability to influence the outcome of an election, as a result of the dilution or the abridgment of the rights of voters who are members of a protected class, as defined pursuant to Section 14026.” One could conclude that they’re only filing the lawsuits where they think they can win.

      In at least one case the courts invalidated an election. Considering that one of the criteria deciding whether the law is violated is the racial makeup of who gets elected, this implies that the election perhaps would not have been overturned if the “correct” race had been elected. IMO that’s an extremely disturbing implication. Another thing the law lists as “probative” is subtle (or overt) racial appeals in political campaigns. Perhaps that’s repugnant, but it’s clearly protected by the First Amendment. A court should not be able to overturn an election because they don’t like who was elected or what the campaigns were saying.