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Over Half of La Mirada Residents Will Not be Voting in City Council Election E-mail
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Politics
Written by Tony Aiello   
Thursday, 16 February 2017 19:44

On August 3, 2016 the La Mirada City Council was served with a demand letter from MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund) stating the city was in violation of the California Voter Rights Act and had to change from an at-large election system to a by-district election system. The district boundaries are depicted above.


La Mirada~The City Council election will take place on March 7th and over half  of the residents will not be able to vote.

Let me try to explain this to you without confusing you more.

Traditionally, La Mirada has used an at-large voting system. Depending how many spots were available, the top vote-getter(s) from all of La Mirada would win the election.

Those days appear to be over.

This past Summer, the Mexican legal Defense & Education Fund (MALDEF) sent a letter to the city demanding they change their voting system to by-district rather than at-large, alleging all areas of the city have not being represented, citing the California Voting Rights Act of 2001.

Rather than face a legal challenge in which the city could ultimately lose and spend thousands of dollars in the process, La Mirada officials complied with MALDEF”S request and changed their voting system, creating five electoral districts, but still had to pay $30,000 in costs to settle.

It continues to get confusing.

Two incumbents terms are up this March, Andrew Sarega and Pauline Deal.

Choosing from multiple district boundary submissions, the council last year approved a map that has Sarega and Deal in the newly formed District 2.

This created an open spot for District 1, which currently has no council member residing within its boundaries. Competing for that spot are myself, Jim Emmerling, Diane Gramajo and John Lewis.

Only Districts 1 and 2 will be participating this March.

Districts 3, 4 and 5 will have an election in March 2019 when Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Eng, Larry Mowles and Mayor Steve DeRuse’s terms are up.

So, this March 7th, three out of every five La Mirada residents will not be participating in the election.

 
Candidates All Set for First District Election E-mail
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Politics
Wednesday, 28 December 2016 17:06

In a just a few short months, the landscape of La Mirada politics may have been changed forever as the filing period has ended and the candidates are set for the City's first district election on March 7, 2017.

The Mecican-American Legal Defense & Education Fund (MALDEF), threatened to sue the city if it did not change its election from an at-large to a district-based system, giving all areas of the city representation on the city council. The city subsequently settled with the group to create districts and paid them $30,000 for their expenses.

The boundaries have been drawn creating five new electoral districts. Districts one and two will have open seats this March for a four-year term. Districts three, four and five will hold have an election in 2019, meaning three-fifths of the La Mirada population will not be able to participate in the election this March.

The candidates for district one, which currently has no sitting council member, are Jim Emmerling, Diane Gramajo, John Lewis and our own Tony Aiello.

District two candidates pit two incumbents against each other, Andrew Sarega and Pauline Deal,  as their current four-year terms are up.



 
La Mirada Approves District-Based Election System E-mail
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Politics
Thursday, 17 November 2016 05:18

La Mirada~The City will be holding a by-district election on March 7, 2017 to fill two City Council seats The third and final public hearing was held on November 8 to gather input on draft City Council district maps.

The City Council initiated the change after a threat of a lawsuit from MALDEF (Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund).

A total of 12 maps were considered by the Council including submittals from residents Dale Nowicki, Noel Jaimes and Zurich Lewis. MALDEF submitted a map as well. A firm the City hired also submitted map choices.

After the public hearing, the City Council approved to change the City Council election system from at-large to by-district and adopted a district map, known as Map 12 (submitted by Lewis), to be in effect by the March 2017 City Council election.

Members of Districts 1 and 2 will be elected in March 2017, while members of Districts 3, 4, and 5 will be elected in March 2019.  Members must reside in the districts they represent.  To view the District Map, visit the City’s website.

The map pits incumbents Pauline Deal and Andrew Sarega against each other in District 2. Both have already filed for re-election. In District 1, nobody has filed papers as of this time.

The nomination period opened at on November 14 and closes at 4:30 p.m. on December 9. If an incumbent does not file papers by December 9, the nomination period is extended until 5:30 p.m. on December 14.  You must be a registered voter in the City of La Mirada on the date nomination papers are picked up at City Hall to qualify to run for the office of La Mirada City Councilmember.

The last day to register to vote in the March 7, 2017 election is February 20, 2017. Registration forms will be available at City Hall, the La Mirada Library, the Post Office, or you can request it by mail by calling the Los Angeles County Elections Registration Request Line at (800) 481-VOTE (8683).

If you have general questions about the election, please contact the City Clerk’s office at (562) 943-0131.

 
La Mirada to Host Council Districting Informational Workshop Oct. 20 E-mail
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Politics
Sunday, 16 October 2016 10:04

La Mirada~The City is in the process of considering modifying its elections from the current at-large system, where all voters elect all members of the City Council, to a by-district system, where only voters in a given district vote on one person to represent them.  The City held the first of three public hearings on October 11 to gather community input to assist in setting City Council districts. Two more public hearings are scheduled for Tuesdays, October 25 and November 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

The City is also hosting a City Council Districting Informational Workshop on Thursday, October 20 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall to educate residents on the districting process. City staff will provide a demonstration of the on-line mapping tool that residents can use to participate in the process. Four map drafts are currently available online on the City’s website along with the district mapping tool where residents can suggest their own districts.

For more information on the Council Districting process, contact (562) 943-0131.

 
City Will Change to District Voting for March 2017 Election E-mail
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Politics
Written by Brian Hews   
Thursday, 13 October 2016 17:46

The City of La Mirada has scheduled three Public Hearings to receive public testimony and gather input to consider modifying its elections from the current at-large system, where all voters elect all members of the City Council, to a by-district system, where only voters in a given district vote on the person to represent them.

The number of representatives on the City Council will remain at five.

The first Public Hearing was held on October 11, with the other two slated for October 25 and November 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers at La Mirada City Hall.

The City Council members made the decision they would elect by district rather than fight a lawsuit from the Latino voting rights group, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and face the possibility of having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The city received the letter from MALDEF that stated, “We have received complaints from Latino voters in the city of La Mirada that the use of an at-large election system for the election of city council members results in Latino voter dilution. We reviewed the demographic and electoral information pertaining to your jurisdiction, based on our investigation we believe that the city of La Mirada is in violation of the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) and must convert to a by-district election system.

La Mirada is comprised of 36% Latino who are voting age however none of the five current members of the city Council is Latino and, with one exception, there have been no Latino city council members since the City’s incorporation.

Based on that, MALDEF concluded that the lack of success of Latino candidates results from the inability of Latino voters to elect candidates of choice due to racially polarized voting among the electorate.

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