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MEDIA ADVISORY FOR TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2015 at 4 PM
CONTACT: Joesé Hernandez (714) 2523705 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Outcry In Anaheim As City Council Reneges on Voting Districts Map Unanimously Recommended by Judges
Council’s final vote on “The People’s Map” may throw it out entirely, prompting protest from residents who created it
WHAT: Anaheim residents will offer a strong rebuke to Anaheim City Council Tuesday at a press conference just before the Council takes its final vote on the city’s first voting districts map, which was unanimously recommended by the panel of five judges the Council had hired to select a map. Last week, three members of the Council voted against what Anaheim residents call “The People’s Map,” despite the Council’s unanimous approval of the map in November.
A residents’ coalition, including immigrant and voting-rights groups, says the Council’s about-face last week will delay districting in Anaheim and undermine a years-long civic process designed to improve electoral representation for immigrants and other groups that have lacked sufficient representation in city government—especially Latinos, who are a majority of the city’s residents.
WHO: Hundreds of Anaheim residents and dozens of community groups, led by OCCORD (Orange County Communities Organized For Responsible Development); Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait
WHEN: Tuesday, December 15. Press conference: 4 PM. City Council meeting: 5 PM
WHERE: Plaza outside Anaheim City Council Chambers, 200 S. Anaheim Blvd, 92805. Free parking available behind the building.
WHY: The People’s Map—and the series of community hearings that created it—arose from a settlement of a 2012 voting rights lawsuit against the City. That suit was filed just weeks before the city experienced four days of civil unrest following two back-to-back fatal shootings of young Latino men by Anaheim police.
On November 3, the City Council unanimously approved a voting-districts map submitted by its Advisory Committee on Electoral Districts, a panel of five retired judges commissioned to develop voting districts over a five-month, multi-meeting process with community input. The Committee unanimously approved the final map—dubbed “The People’s Map” because of its basis in broad participation by residents from all districts of the city.
But at the December 8 City Council meeting, members of the Council did an about-face. Councilman Jordan Brandman led two other councilmembers to throw out the Committee– and community-recommended map and its district mapping process, and start over again next February.
Residents say Brandman’s move undermines Latino residents, who make up 53% of the city’s population and participated heavily in creating The People’s Map, by threatening to pack them into just two districts with a majority of voting-age Latino citizens. In contrast, the map unanimously recommended by the Advisory Committee of judges would create three districts where voting-age Latino citizens would have a good chance of electing their preferred candidates: one majority-Latino district and two plurality-Latino districts. The People’s Map offers residents a total of three out of six districts where Latinos would be a significant voting bloc, rather than Brandman’s suggesting a mere two Latino-majority districts.
Residents also criticize Brandman’s delay into next year as disrespectful of years of civic engagement and unfair to potential City Council candidates, who may only have a few months after districts get finalized to mount their 2016 campaigns.