The legal and political reason behind the trend for California cities to scrap their at-large elections in favor of true district or ward elections is that protected classes of people have been demonstrably neglected by the at-large system. From the LA Times 9/14/2013.
First came Modesto. Then Compton, Anaheim, Escondido, Whittier, Palmdale and others were pushed into the growing ranks of California cities under pressure to change how they elect their city councils.
Activists seeking minority representation on those councils are clamoring to have members elected by geographic district. Ethnically diverse cities that hold at-large elections and have few minority officeholders have proved vulnerable to lawsuits under the 11-year-old California Voting Rights Act.
All a plaintiff has to do, experts say, is demonstrate that racially polarized voting exists — and often that can be done with election results that reveal contrasting outcomes between predominantly minority precincts and white ones.
Across California, community college and school districts are making the switch.
And the “No on P” folks are only proving the case that this is about more votes and thus more influence for the like-minded voting majority. Take a look at the photo of the campaign sign against P that fellow Humboldt liber….. blogger Fred Mangels posted yesterday.
Don’t throw your “votes” away? Plural? What is it in conservative philosophy, at least that part of the philosophy which they can speak about out loud, that will argue for one person five votes?
As I have tried to argue before, the local left including Democrats and Bernie’s former group which has morphed locally to the North Coast Peoples Alliance are fighting for the goal of accountability in representation; you vote for your representative and that person is accountable to you and other members of her district. This is not an essentially liberal or even progressive idea, YES on P should be a conservative notion.
But conservatives cannot vote for true ward elections because they know they would like to hang on to the influence of having votes and thus influence over all 5 wards. And that is why for them, maintaining an at-large system prevents discrimination against them. They are loath to give up 4 of 5 votes and lose 80% of their influence.
If that means they to ignore that conservative angel on their shoulder that would argue for these conservative principles, so be it. If it means they have to subject the City of Eureka to likely lawsuits whose outcome will only have become more clear after the arguments of this election, so be it.
Just give us all five of those sweet, sweet city-wide votes to which we are entitled.