Re: Committee Opts For Unpopular Multi-Member District System For Elections – Letter to the Editor

In reference to “The Weekly” October 2nd article concerning the 2019 Charter Review Committee’s recommendation for a “Multi-Member District System” to replace Santa Clara’s Six-District Single Member election system brings back discrimination and probable illegality to Santa Clara local elections.

Multi-member districts operate on the same principle as at-large elections. In multimember districts, multiple candidates run for a group of seats – seated in discriminatory tricks against “protected class” voters. Fighting those discriminatory tricks has been the purpose of the California Voter Rights Act (CVRA), since 2003. So far, all CVRA court rulings have ruled against at-large, and multimember districts being used in local elections. The law is still pursuing any government agency, still using these tricks in their election process.

The City of Santa Clara has received a Santa Clara County Superior Court ruling against their at-large voting system, also rejecting their proposed alternative multimember election system. What the Court did dictate, was that the City use a single-member, six district election system. This election system worked quite effectively in the 2018 election – electing a protected-class candidate.

It appears that the power structure of the City’s City Council wants to continue denying “Protected Class” candidates the opportunity to take a rightful seat on this City Council. This is apparent from the alternative multimember district election system recommendation that the 2019 Charter Review offers to a upcoming ballot.

The Santa Clara electorate has the opportunity to reject these proposed changes. As these alternative discriminatory election methods have continued to come from the powers of this Santa Clara City Council; it may be wise for the Santa Clara electorate to dismantle its City Council power structure through upcoming elections.