Letter From Steve Chessin

Among the recommendations that the 2011 Charter Review Committee (CRC) made to the City Council was that they consider implementing a proportional representation (PR) voting system by 2014. Had the City done so, it wouldn’t be facing a lawsuit today, as a PR system organically provides representation to minorities (political, ethnic, or electoral) in direct proportion to how people vote. (Two-thirds of the voters, voting as a block, will elect two-thirds of the winners, not all of them, and one-third of the voters, voting as a block, will elect one-third of the winners, not none.)

Instead, the City Council punted the issue to a February 2012 study session that recommended that the CRC’s report be considered at a March 2013 goal setting session, where the CRC’s recommendation died a quiet death. The Council’s inaction laid the groundwork for the current lawsuit.

The homogeneous nature of Santa Clara means district elections won’t result in a Council that reflects the City’s diversity. Only a PR solution will do so.