The lesson here is that just because one occupies a position of responsibility, (here being council members and City Attorney), residents can never assume those in such positions will act responsibly.
Let’s be clear. Since 2011, when the City was first put on notice of its racist and discriminatory at large voting scheme, City Council endorsed litigation to preserve white rule in the City of Santa Clara. As the Trial Court found, this practice had a record of 70+ years of diluting Asian American resident votes in City Council races. The Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in Santa Clara represents a 44% plurality of city residents.
Compare, Santa Clara’s neighbor the City of Sunnyvale. When noticed of a like violation of the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), they performed a thoughtful, honest analysis of the merits. They concluded, correctly, Sunnyvale was operating outside the requirements of the CVRA and immediately moved from at large to district voting.
Santa Clara had another, and ugly, agenda. Yes, the city paid dearly. When you add the attorney’s fees, the court, rightly, slammed the City (plus what the City spent on two problematic failed ballot measures) the monetary loss is in excess of $5M.
More importantly, the City because of their hell-bent effort to preserve white rule, is rightly tagged as the Alabama of Silicon Valley.
It is up to this current city council to “Out, damned spot.” That may take a generation. A first step must be (1) an apology to the AAPI Santa Clara community and, equally, (2) holding those in official positions who promoted or sat by and did nothing, accountable. Ie, fire/throw them out of office.