On February 21, 2019, the Santa Monica City council had an open hearing for residents to voice our opinions regarding district verses at large elections. The city of Santa Monica lost its fight to preserve the current election process and was ordered to hold district elections this July. After several residents spoke in opposition to an appeal the council retreated to closed doors to hold what appeared to be a predetermined position to use more tax payer monies to fight on appeal. The city council voted unanimously to continue this appeal. The city attorney used an argument stating that there is in fact diverse representation. The argument used 2012 when Tony Vasquez was voted into council as a talking point to refute the claim that at large elections do not discriminate against hispanics. As a lifelong resident for sixty five years there have been two elected members representing hispanics and African Americans, Tony Vasquez and Nat Trives.

Historically, Santa Monica has always had a hispanic population of 15% to 20%. Yet, under the current at large elections, there is discrimination by repressing the election of hispanics. If you examine the city council minority representation from a historic perspective, representation of elected officials on the city council is shameful and discriminatory with only TWO elected. Moreover, the process of at large elections lacks diversity of ideas that reflect our community. Under the current at larger election process, SMRR and city unions endorse candidates and slates that reflect their policies and objectives. If they do not endorse a candidate the candidate won’t be elected to office. In addition, you have several elected representatives who reside in the same neighborhoods. Residents are left out of policy decisions that shape our city and neighborhoods. Plain and simple, our current at large election system is rigged, corrupt and discriminatory. As the city plans to spend more money, forgoing needed maintenance and programs that make our city better, remember at election time ALL our incumbents voted for an appeal.

Robert Gomez

Santa Monica

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