Orange County News

Anaheim City Council holds public meeting over leadership

Thursday, August 02, 2012

The Anaheim City Council held a special meeting to discuss a lawsuit challenging the way city leaders are chosen. Thursday residents had a chance to speak out on a lawsuit calling for major changes to the city's election process. Council members also met in private.

Last Tuesday demonstrators clashed with Anaheim Police outside City Hall, cutting short a city council meeting over concerns of safety and security. The melee followed two-officer-involved shootings.

But at Thursday's special city council meeting it was a much quieter affair. The community was invited to weigh in on a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union calling on Anaheim to change how the city is represented.

"I urge this council to vote no as the racial makeup of the council is irrelevant and ever-changing," said Anaheim resident Sandra Day. "For example, it was only a few years ago that the complexion of the council was made up of two Hispanics."

The lawsuit filed by the ACLU says the city has failed to represent Latinos and is demanding the city be divided into eight council districts.

Mayor Tom Tait announced on Tuesday a district solution would be a better fit for Anaheim, but only with six districts. Even so, not everyone agrees how the city should resolve the issue.

"We all know that putting district elections on the ballot will now delay a viable solution, and by negotiating in court the city council can find a solution now," said union organizer Martin Lopez.

Next Wednesday, city council members will hold another special meeting at Anaheim High School. That is when city leaders are expected to vote on a measure to place district elections on the November ballot. But next week's meeting has ignited fears of more civil unrest, especially in a bigger venue like the high school.

"Opening it up to over a thousand people I think is just going to create more of a worse situation than what we have now," said Thomas Holguin, a former Anaheim Unified School District Trustee.

"We truly hope that you are not considering canceling next Wednesday's special council meeting by using some bogus fear factor. Because if you're afraid, you shouldn't be serving the people," said Joanne Sosa, Take Back Anaheim.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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