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LETTERS -- Voting Rights Attorney Stands to Make Millions

February 4, 2018

Dear Editor,

Only in an alternate universe can someone suing our schools claim that they are helping to improve them ("LETTERS -- Stop Violating the Latw and Ignoring Residents," February 1, 20019)..

When I pointed out that Mr. Shenkman was misguided in suing our schools, he digressed to talk about a prior lawsuit that he, Oscar de la Torre and Maria Loya concocted to limit our right to vote.

In that lawsuit they demanded that we have district voting, which means we could only vote for one City Council seat rather than voting for or against all seven council seats like we do now.

Here are a few facts:

1) Mr. Shenkman is demanding millions of taxpayer dollars for legal fees in his voting rights’ limiting lawsuit.

2) In his voting rights’ limiting lawsuit, he demands that we carve out a custom gerrymandered district to benefit Maria Loya who is married to Oscar de la Torre.

3) A majority of our citizens voted against identical ballots measures that would have limited our voting rights to a single council seat in two prior elections.

4) There is no evidence of Latino under-representation with our current election system. To the contrary, in our current system, we have elected twice as many Latino city councilmembers compared to the proportion of Latinos living in Santa Monica.

5) In Mr. Shenkman’s prior lawsuits against Palmdale, Santa Clarita and others, after they surrendered and adopted his vote-limiting single council seat proposal, not only did they pay millions in legal fees, fewer Latinos got elected than before.

6) If we do not appeal his vote-limiting lawsuit, we will have to pay Mr. Shenkman well over four million dollars in legal fees.

7) If we win the appeal, he gets nothing, and we get to continue to vote for or against every City Council seat, which is the system we supported in two prior elections.

8) In his most recent lawsuit against our schools, if Mr. Shenkman really was concerned for a parent that could not afford a uniform fee, he could have helped her fill out the one page form the school district created years ago to remedy these problems.

9) He is also asking that our personal information be turned over to him so that he can make this a class action lawsuit which would allow him to demand millions in legal fees from our schools.

10) Every dollar spent on his legal fees is one less dollar that could be spent on educating our kids.

As far as my prior comments about Mr. Shenkman’s lack of a conscience; his actions and words reinforce my assessment.

As for Mr. de la Torre who supports this lawsuit against us and our schools, I prefer school board members who are more concerned with educating our kids than enriching their lawyers.


Joel C. Koury
Santa Monica

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