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LETTERS -- Santa Monica Needs to Appeal Voting Rights Decision

February 19, 2019

Dear Editor,

All the experts that were consulted for your article agreed that the trial judge’s orders are stayed or “put on hold” until the appeal process is completed ("City Likely Faces Uphill Battle in Voting Rights Case, Experts Say," February 19, 2019).

If we appeal, that means that there will not be an election in June and the city council will continue to function until the appeal is decided sometime next year.

There are a number of issues that the appellate court will have to resolve. Even if the appellate court agrees that there was intentional discrimination in 1946 and 1992 that does not mean creating a gerrymandered district will remedy last century’s discrimination.

Our city’s property values, demographics, neighborhoods and politics are dramatically different than they were in 1946.

There is now racial and ethnic diversity throughout the city. More Latinos live outside the Pico District than in it and minorities regularly serve in our city government.

We have had three Latinos sitting on our city council the last two years, which seemingly was ignored by the trial judge. Stripping our right to vote for the entire council and creating a gerrymandered district will not remedy discrimination that occurred decades ago.

Mr.Shenkman’s comments about jail and contempt are legally wrong per every expert that you interviewed. As every election law expert that you consulted confirmed -- none of the court’s findings or orders go into effect until the appeal is final.

If we win our appeal we will not be paying Mr. Shenkman millions of dollars. Which is one more reason why we need to appeal this decision.


Joel C. Koury
Santa Monica

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