June 24, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Plaintiffs in Voting Rights Case Against Santa Monica Petition for Rehearing

Decision “contains several critical legal and factual mistakes,” says petition

By Sam Catanzaro

Earlier this month an appeals court ruled in favor of the City of Santa Monica in a case that alleged that the city’s at-large elections diluted Latino voting power. Now the plaintiffs are petitioning for a rehearing, claiming the decision “contains several critical legal and factual mistakes.”

The case filed by plaintiffs Pico Neighborhood Association, Maria Loya and Advocates for Malibu Public Schools alleges that Santa Monica’s at-large election system dilutes Latino voting power in violation of the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) and discriminates against Latino voters in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution.

In a ruling released February 15, 2019, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette M. Palazuelos ordered that all future elections for seats on the Santa Monica City Council be based on a seven-district map drawn by an expert for the plaintiffs, including a 30 percent Latino district. The City then appealed this decision.

On July 9, a three-judge panel from the California 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the city saying that Latinos, who account for 14 percent of Santa Monica’s electorate, lack the numbers to win an election in the 30 percent Latino district ordered by Judge Palazuelos.

Kevin Shenkman, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, on July 24 filed a petition for rehearing to the 2nd District appeals court.

“The Opinion’s holding that the inability to create a hypothetical majority minority district in Santa Monica is fatal to the CVRA claim contravenes the plain language of the statute,” Shenkman wrote. “The Opinion also errs in ignoring the trial court’s factual finding, based on contested expert testimony and other evidence, that Latino-preferred Latino candidates who lost citywide often would have won election had the contest been limited to the remedial district proposed.”

In addition, Shenkman argued that the judges failed to follow clearly established principles governing the evaluation of factual evidence for determining the existence of intentional discrimination as protected by the Equal Protection Clause.

“Most starkly, the Opinion fails to cite or follow Village of Arlington Heights v. Metro. Housing Dev. Corp (1977) 429 U.S. 252, which held that in order to find an Equal Protection violation a trial court need not find that discrimination was the defendant’s ‘sole’ or “primary” purpose, just that a discriminatory purpose infected the actor’s decision-making,” Shenkman wrote.

As reported by the Santa Monica Outlook, Shenkman noted that it is “highly unlikely” that the case would be reheard, but said that the petition lays the groundwork for a potential appeal to the California Supreme Court.

Related Posts

District Attorney Declines to File Charges in Santa Monica Fatal Stabbing

June 23, 2021

June 23, 2021

District Attorney’s Office declines to file charges against individual connected to recent stabbing  By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles County District...

Snap and Hulu Expanding Santa Monica Presence

June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021

Snapchat and Hulu, both based in Santa Monica, are expanding their footprints in the city. Learn more in this video...

Police Arrest Suspect in Downtown Santa Monica Homicide

June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021

27-year-old Long Beach man arrested as homicide suspect By Sam Catanzaro A suspect has been booked for murder in connection...

Two Suspects Arrested in Connection to Downtown Santa Monica Shooting

June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

UPDATE: https://smmirror.com/2021/06/police-arrest-suspect-in-downtown-santa-monica-homicide/A man remains in custody for murder in connection to this incident, which was originally reported as a shooting...

Santa Monica Expected to Confirm Contract for New Interim City Manager

June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

Former City Manager John Jalili expected assume interim post Friday  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica lawmakers are expected to approve...

Free Lunches Provided to School Aged Children at Virginia Ave Park: Santa Monica Beat – June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Free Lunches Provided to School Aged Children at Virginia Ave Park...

Gelson’s Selected as Anchor Grocer for West End Development

June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

Gelson’s to occupy 36,000 square feet of space at West Edge By Sam Catanzaro Real estate firm Hines has announced...

No Injuries Reported After Metro Train Collides With Vehicle in Santa Monica

June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

A Metro E Line train collided with a car in Santa Monica Monday morning.  According to the Santa Monica Police...

Santa Monica Aligns Mask Orders with LA County

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

On June 15, Interim City Manager Lane Dilg signed the 37th supplement to align Santa Monica’s local emergency provisions with Los Angeles County...

Former Santa Monica Resident Sentenced to Federal Prison for Embezzling More Than $22 Million from Employer

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

A former executive at a Hollywood-based digital marketing company that represents influencers on Instagram and YouTube was sentenced recently to...

Edify TV: Tourism Returning to Santa Monica?

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

A busy Memorial Day weekend in which Santa Monica hotel occupancy rates reached their highest levels since the pandemic began...

Santa Monica College Cancels Fireworks Show, Main Street Parade Also Off

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

Firework shows in Marina del Rey and Pacific Palisades back this year By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica College (SMC) has...

Summer Safety Tips When Hiking and Biking Outdoors

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

LAFD Captain Erik Scott gives us tips on staying safe while enjoying the mountains this summer. Brought to you by...

Crossroads Wins CIF and State Regionals

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

The Crossroads Varsity Boys Soccer Team had a stellar championship season starting with a true underdog story with CIF Division 6 Playoff...