There’s a change coming to our local city council elections, a change that could reshape the way we look at local politics. Our city council will be changing from an at large election format, to being elected by districts.
Once the new system is officially adopted the City will determine the order that the newly drawn districts will elect their council members. So why now? Why change the structure of our local elections?
“Lawsuit, that’s the simplest answer. This is the second one that we’ve had in the city’s history. We felt that we had no other real path forward that was best for the city except to settle and start moving into districts. Which is what the process has been since that settlement started.” Said Jason Gibbs, Mayor of Santa Clarita.
Some locals feel that the California Voting Rights Act is enabling the city to draw a map they see as Gerrymandered. Tony Maldonado, a SCV Resident said “According to the constitution and according to the federal voting rights act, districts shouldn’t be based on race and unfortunately that’s what’s being done. That’s what the lawsuit is all about: to create a majority minority district, primarily hispanic. I’m hispanic and I feel offended by that as if we have no competency to have our own free will to decide what we want.”
Other residents see things differently, with some arguing the current at large voting system doesn’t give representation to minority voters. According to Valerie Bradford, President of the Santa Clarita NAACP, we’re looking to see representation on that city council that cares about what our needs are. Our current city council does not reach out to these minority groups and see what their needs are… They just don’t do it.”