La Mirada~ At its September 13th meeting, city council members voted 4-1 to approve a settlement with a Latino voting rights group, avoiding a possible expensive litigation process.
The Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) sent a letter to the council in July accusing the city of violating the California Voting Rights Act of 2001. The letter imposed a deadline of August 17th to respond or risk being sued.
As part of the settlement, the city will create voting districts for the upcoming March 2017 election, including one that must be Latino-majority. The city must also pay MALDEF $30,000 for their expenses.
Councilman Andrew Sarega was the lone vote against the settlement saying the city gave in to group.
The city doesn’t believe it violated the act, but feel it is in their best interest to settle.
Resident Noel Jaimes said on his Facebook page, “The city capitulated to a lawsuit threat by a bully without a fight and now will be forced to divide the city of La Mirada into five districts, something that most La Mirada residents don't want.”
La Mirada City Councilman Steve DeRuse responding to the thread noting that as to date, no city has challenged and won a case against MALDEF and that the council acted to protect the city and limit the liability to $30,000 and to maintain control of the districting process, saying, “If this went to court a judge would be drawing our districts.”
After a series of public hearings for community input, including assistance by residents in drawing the districts, the council looks to have boundaries in place by November 8th.