SANTA ANA (CBS) — A lawsuit filed this week claims that Latino voters in the city of Anaheim are being kept out of the political process at City Hall.
KNX 1070′s Mike Landa reports the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) alleges the city’s electoral process is in violation of California law.
The lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court calls on city officials to establish permanent districts to increase representation of minority voters and address a disparity that “reveals a lack of meaningful access for Latinos to the political process in Anaheim”.
According to attorneys for the ACLU, despite a Latino general population of 53 percent and 33 percent of registered voters, only three Latinos have ever been elected to a seat on the five-member City Council.
“When members of a Latino neighborhood go to ask for…a speed bump to be put into our neighborhood, they’re told that there’s no funding for such a speed bump,” said attorney Bardis Vakili. “Meanwhile, they see more parks per capita going up in Anaheim Hills.”
Four out of five current council members — who are elected “at-large”, which means they can reside in any part of the city — are residents of Anaheim Hills, while zero Latinos are on the council, according to the lawsuit (PDF).
The suit also notes the city’s “long history of discrimination against minorities” dating back to 1924, when the city earned the nickname “Klanaheim” after electing three Ku Klux Klan members to the City Council.
Anaheim businessman Amin David and teacher Consuelo Garcia, who are among the plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit, gathered with about 100 other community members on the steps of City Hall on Thursday to announce the lawsuit.
A city workshop to allow residents to present their arguments on the issue is set for July 11.