Editor:

Right now you get to vote for all seven of your City Councilmembers. Lawyers who’ve made a handsome living by suing cities up and down California are trying to take six of your votes away.
The writers of this letter are the longest-serving Councilmember and the most recently appointed. We each represent all of our city, not just one-seventh of the voters, although we are, of course, deeply rooted in our neighborhoods.
We believe it is best to keep our current system, where every Councilmember, no matter what neighborhood they live in, answers to every voter, no matter where they live.
The litigation to force districts on Santa Monica would mean that each resident votes for only one Councilmember, and gets to vote only once every four years. Right now, you get to vote every two years, and every one of the seven Councilmembers is accountable to you. With districts, six of the seven Councilmembers would have no reason to consider you as their constituents.
Have Santa Monica voters ever considered district elections? Indeed they have. In 1975, and again in 2002, Santa Monicans voted no to districts, and affirmed having every Councilmember elected by all the voters in our city.
Would districts, as claimed, increase minority representation? Perhaps in some other communities, but in Santa Monica minorities are not concentrated such that any district could further empower them. There is no minority that is a majority in the Pico neighborhood, and, in fact, in total, more Santa Monica Latinos live in other neighborhoods than in Pico.
The current lawsuit, which financially benefits the plaintiffs’ lawyers, has been expensive for Santa Monica taxpayers. We did not initiate this lawsuit. The lawyers who did have sued a number of cities, walking away with generous fees and settlements. They started this litigation. The blame for the costs falls on them. When we win on appeal, they won’t get the money they came here for, and that is justice.
The two of us believe your right to vote for all seven Councilmembers, and to have a City Council that represents all of you, is worth fighting for.

Ana Maria Jara
Kevin McKeown

 

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4 Comments

  1. Are you kidding me! Right now I have 7 council members I didn’t vote for and who don’t care about Sunset Park. Give me a break and stop pretending you represent all of Santa Monica. Just stop wasting our money. We could have built new fields at the airport with the money the City Council is wasting on fighting this case.

  2. The subtext of this missive seems to be please don’t let SMRR lose control of the city they have run for 40 years.

    The city has spent millions on this lawsuit and has failed to prevail even with ultra expensive, politically connected outside counsel.

    Spend no more of taxpayers money on this fools errand of an appeal.

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