At a special meeting of Santa Clarita City Council on April 12, 2022, the city council approved a settlement agreement with the plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit against the city on December 29, 2021, alleging a violation of California voting law.
The city will hold regional elections for city council seats, starting with the 2024 city council elections, the November 2022 elections will not be affected. As part of the settlement agreement, the city will pay a total of $ 370,000 to the plaintiffs, Michael Cruise, Sebastian Casares, and Neighborhood Elections Now, represented by attorney Scott Rafert of Northern California.
Although the boundaries of the five districts will be determined before the 2024 elections, there have always been round elections in the city, so in November 2024 there will be only two seats. to complete the expired terms of the Council of Elders.
Board members serve for four years, so the remaining three counties will be elected from November 2026. The agreement states that by June 30, 2023, the city council will make a decision or resolution by adopting a map. with five districts of the Council of Elders.
“It was a difficult solution to agree on,” said Mayor Laurent Veste. “Our city has prospered under the current general election process, through which residents can vote for all members of the Council of Elders who represent themselves in this city. This new process means that voters can only vote for one council member. This one council member will represent just one area of the city. However, it seems that the fight against this case will be too expensive without a possible successful outcome. The Santa Clarita City Council has been working hard for many years to protect our city, while most NGOs around the city have moved to neighborhoods as a result of the trial or under threat of a lawsuit. The settlement decision was made to avoid the excessive costs that may arise in future litigation so unlikely that the money spent would save the current system. The settlement also allows the city to work with the community in the process of creating districts, rather than the court dictating the districts. ”
The next step will be to work on a map that will divide the city into council districts. The city will hold several public hearings starting after the 2022 elections to develop a final district map. The city will work in a transparent, collaborative process with the community of Santa Clarita to develop a map of the area. Additional information on the details of the public hearing will be released.
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