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Complaint alleges racial bias in Palmdale elections

By   /   February 19, 2013  /   Comments Off

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Plaintiffs say the city’s at-large election system violates the state’s 2001 Voting Rights Act, which guards against disenfranchisement of minorities. They seek a change to district-by-district voting.

Case scheduled to go to trial in May alleges that Palmdale’s system of at-large council seats dilutes the influence of minority voters.

By Ann M. Simmons, Los Angeles TimesFebruary 18, 2013, 10:49 p.m.

Latinos and African Americans make up about two-thirds of the population of Palmdale. But since the city’s incorporation in August 1962, not a single black resident and only one Latino has ever served on the City Council.

That’s the backdrop of a complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Antelope Valley civil rights activists alleging racial bias in city elections in this High Desert locale. The complaint argues that Palmdale’s system of at-large council seats dilutes the influence of minority voters.

“Latinos and African Americans are locked out of the political system in the city of Palmdale,” said Malibu attorney Kevin Shenkman, who is representing plaintiff Juan Jauregui, a Palmdale resident. Three local black activists and the NAACP have also said they will join the case, scheduled to go to trial in May.

The litigation is the latest in a series of racially themed conflicts in the Antelope Valley as blacks and Latinos have moved into once mostly white areas.

Housing programs and police practices have been flash points as activists have challenged policies they perceive as unfairly targeting minority residents.

Plaintiffs say the city’s at-large election system violates the state’s 2001 Voting Rights Act, which guards against disenfranchisement of minorities. They seek a change to district-by-district voting.

Full story LATimes

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Branson Hunter

(This story was posted by Cactus Thorn contributor Branson Hunter)

"The ends do not justify the means." If you use illegal mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.

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