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CITY OF WHITTIER REACTS TO COURT RULING

Posted On: December 13, 2013

CITY OF WHITTIER REACTS TO COURT RULING

Whittier, Calif.  (December 13, 2013) – City of Whittier officials expressed disappointment with today’s ruling to deny a motion to dismiss individual council members from a lawsuit filed regarding the California Voting Rights Act.
 

“We are disappointed by today’s ruling, which allows the plaintiffs to continue to use the courts as a bully pulpit to decide an issue that simply should be decided by the residents of our great city,” said Assistant City Attorney Kimberly Hall Barlow.
 

She added, “The groups opposing the process to allow local voters to have a voice in their election process appear to have no regard for the fiscal damage that protracted litigation will cause to our city budget – which in turn affects our city services – and the burden that it puts on our taxpayers.  Their continual use of the courts to decide this issue demonstrates their disregard for the good of our city, and our residents.”
 

“It is clear that Plaintiffs have sued the individual Council members only to attempt to place them in a negative light for political reasons.  No individual member of the Council, past or present, has ever had the right to unilaterally ignore or amend the City's Charter.  Only the citizens of Whittier can do that,” said Barlow.  “If they truly have the city’s best interests at heart, they will simply allow our voters to decide the form that local elections should take – unless they are afraid that the outcome might not align with their interests.”
 

The council previously approved a Special Municipal Election to be held on June 3, 2014, to submit to voters a Charter amendment establishing a directly-elected Mayor position and district-based Council members.  The proposed Mayoral election would occur every two years, while the Council term would be for four years.  The Council action came after more than 30 residents provided input to the Council, many supporting a change to district-based elections.
 

For more information on voting rights, or to watch rebroadcasts of Council meetings and read agenda reports, visit the City’s website at www.cityofwhittier.org.