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Home 2014 Elections Isn’t it time to diversify our City Council via ward-specific elections?
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Isn’t it time to diversify our City Council via ward-specific elections?

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Santa Ana City Council

Diverse? No!

The last time someone tried to change our City Council elections from at large to ward specific the effort failed, primarily because white voters were told that the infamous Nativo Lopez was behind the scheme.  And he was.  At the time the only way anyone ever figured that we would have more Latinos on the City Council would be via ward-specific elections.

Well now we have an all-Latino City Council and they’re an embarrassment.  As the city reels in yet another budget crisis they wasted weeks firing our City Manager, Paul Walters, so they could hire a temp, Kevin O’Rourke, who is costing us over $22K a month.  In Santa Ana that passes for progress.

If we had a ward-specific election system it is likely that former Council Member Brett Franklin would have won in Ward 3 last year.  Instead a total unknown, Angelica Amezcua, who did not even campaign, won.  She of course joined the other Council Members in firing Walters, proving she too is worthless.

A ward-specific system might give a Vietnamese candidate a shot at a Council seat, but as others have pointed out, the Council’s 2012 redistricting gerrymandered the Vietnamese community to such an extent that they might have to sue to reverse the redistricting, if they are to have a real shot at a Council seat.

The bottom line though is that if you want a diverse Council now then you simply must support ward-specific elections.  They are also a great way to get rid of candidates who are funded by special interests.  Anyone can walk one ward.  Walking the whole city is impossible.  So the moneyed candidates resort to mail, lots of it.  Ward specific elections will even the tables!  In a ward specific system neighborhood activist Jim Walker would have probably beaten Vince Sarmiento four years ago.

Not everyone is a fan of Ward-Specific elections.  Some people say that these type of elections discourage unity and result in Council Members who only care about their wards.  That might come true in some areas.  But do we really want a Council full of lemmings?  That is what we have now.

Here is a list of cities that elect their Council members by districts/wards:

Charter Cities

  • Bakersfield (212,715)
  • Berkeley (105,855)
  • Dinuba (14,638)
  • Downey (92,092) 1 council elected at-large
  • Fresno (367,684)
  • *Inglewood++ (116,032)
  • *Long Beach (442,106)
  • *Los Angeles (3,638,148)
  • *Oakland (386,779)
  • *Pasadena (137, 136
  • *Pomona (139,792)
  • *Redondo Beach++ (63,913)
  • *Riverside ++ (247,800)
  • *Sacramento (396,032)
  • Salinas (122,468)
  • *San Bernardino (185,942)
  • *San Diego (1,197,676)
  • *San Jose (849,363)
  • *Seal Beach (26,795)
  • Stockton (234,009)
  • Watsonville (34,248)

++ In these cities, if no one gets 51% of the vote, then they have a run-off election at a later date.

General Law Cities

  • Bradbury (890)
  • ??Coachella?? (21,038
  • Colton (45,479)
  • Hanford (38,469)
  • Hollister (24,698)
  • Moreno Valley (135,635)
  • Parlier (9,452)
  • West Sacramento (30,231)

And here is a list of cities that nominates council members from districts or wards but elects them at large:

Charter Cities

  • Alhambra (88,518)
  • *Compton (93,268)
  • *Eureka (28,606)
  • Newport Beach (70,098)
  • San Leandro (72,307)
  • Santa Ana (337,977) (Census of Population, 2000) 78,217 (Orange County Registrar of Voters, Map Section, 01/16/02)

General Law Cities

  • Woodside (5,396)

*Cities with primary elections

Population figures from League of Cities database, July 1997

Amazing.  Only a handful of cities conduct their local elections the way Santa Ana does.  And Santa Ana is by far the largest city that conducts elections in this manner.

Our current system is dated and it needs to go.

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17 Comments  comments 

17 Responses

  1. Mateo

    Yes that is a great idea. Get ‘er done Admin.
    We might have a white person in the North, a Vietnamese in the west. and a Gay Downtown.

  2. cook

    The voters tossed that idea into the round file in 1988. Before Lopez became a household name.

    Mateo, go to the library and visit the history room and the newspaper storage and learn about the past so you don’t make the same mistakes others have done.

    • Where do you stand on this issue Cook?

      • cook

        I thought ward specific was interesting.

        But after looking into it and the vast unintended consequences it would bring, I favor voter’s rights to vote for each candidate for the council seats in the city.

        I hope the city of Anaheim can find the time to look southward to find the answer they are looking for in this very same issue.

        • Ward specific elections would do away with stunt candidates like Angie Amezcua.

          • cook

            Ward specific elections, would create chaos with the councilmembers who do not go along with the majority being easily RECALLED and then replaced with an appointment by the majority.

            Art, you are in Ward 3, but the councilmembers in the other wards have a say so in what goes on in ward 3 too. Don’t you want to have the right to vote for those other councilmembers that have a say so over ward 3?

  3. Seamus MacDuff

    What do you mean “more diversity”. I see 2 clowns – 2 coconuts – 2 bible thumpers & 1 little person. Looks pretty diverse to me.

  4. You must try to walk (drive the city) as I did in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 as a council and mayoral candidate, to seek a support, to see that it wouldn’t work.

    Mexicans are everywhere in unbelievable large numbers.

    Since the whites are cowards to speak up like I do, affright to be labeled racists, stigmatized and intimidated as I am, the election will always be in favor of Mexicans.

    Not because Mexicans vote but because they intimidate white population by graffiti, gangs and crime.

    Now, with the upcoming amnesty and Mexican Police Chief Rojas, any democratic process in the Santa Ana will be totally impossible.

    If the whites want to survive in the Santa Ana they must circle wagons, engage in gentrification and cowered discrimination, like in Irvine, so the Mexicans move elsewhere.

    I believe that the Mexican editor of this blog enjoys to live in the white neighborhood.

    But that is not gone happen because the majority whites are hypnotized liberals and fearful to voice their opinion so that they will not see their cut off head on the sticks along the Bristol Blvd.

  5. Jeff

    Chief Rojas may have a “Mexican” last name but I stand behind him and respect his authority. Please do not stereotype or lump in with the other group.
    Respectfully, Jeff

  6. Mateo

    Fiala and Jeff are both correct. One is dependent on job reputation, one is not.

  7. Will he dismantle SAPD13 death squad?

  8. Tio, I am inviting you to “A Night Of Resistance: California Oath Keepers Host Brandon Smith and Stewart Rhodes” at Old World Village coats mesa so you can see a civilized “occupy” movement.

    I will buy you good German beer.

  9. Seamus MacDuff

    All this change to get one token cracker on the SA Council?

    Let’s wait until whitey is marching in the street demanding ward specific elections, .. ha!

  10. Cesar Chavez would vote for Jose Solorio

    Good idea Art. Do you remember an African American woman named Albert Christy who used to be on the city council? She fancied herself a “neighborhood leader” and yet NEVER was high vote getter in her ward near Valley High. She was carried into office by the Political machine and could not even get the most votes in her ward.

  11. Cesar Chavez would vote for Jose Solorio

    Sadly Seamus might be right. The Gringos are happy just heading up COMMLINK, the Historical society, and few running neighborhood associations. They also like to give away money like through Rotary, Kiwanis, and the Boys and Girls clubs. Let them do what they do best BEHIND the scenes some might say.

  12. For some reason my comment yesterday did not go published, I hope that the “carpetbagger” did not use it for burrito wrapping.

    The whole issue about Latinos and Gringos is moot by the fact that there are only to races in this country — Americans and the others.

    The Latino issue always pups up because Latinos do not want to be Americans so they will always be outsiders.

    It is that simple.

    Since there is not a single Latino country in the world which is prosperous, therefore, by the definition the cities run by the Latinos can’t be prosperous nether which is clear From Bell to Santa Ana.

    However, that is not my concern at this point because that will fix it self economically when Latinos will bag Gringo for food as they do now crossing the border.

    So these of you who consider yourselves Americans fight for your freedom:


    Introduced in the California State Assembly is a bill that would oppose and nullify “indefinite detention” under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012. Your Action is needed right now to help move this legislation forward! Assembly Bill 351 reads in part:

    It is the policy of this state to refuse to provide material support for or to participate in any way with the implementation within this state of Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112-81)

    It also provides for criminal penalties for attempting “indefinite detention” in California:

    (1) An officer, agent, or employee of the United States or an employee of a corporation providing services to the United States who enforces or attempts to enforce Section 1021 or 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112-81) is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year, a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both imprisonment and the fine.

    AB351 has been assigned to the Committee on Public Safety. It will first require a hearing and approval by the committee. This hearing can happen any day, indications are that it will be shortly after April 1st.


    1. CALL the chair of the Public Safety Committee. Politely urge him to schedule a hearing on AB351. Also let him know you’d like to see him vote YES on AB351.
    Chair, Tom Ammiano (916) 319-2017

    2. Contact the rest of the Public Safety Committee members. Strongly, but respectfully, let them know that you want them to vote YES on AB351 to move it to a debate and vote in the full State Assembly. Call in the evening and over the weekend too. If you reach a voicemail, leave your message —and ask for a call back so you can speak to the legislator or their staff personally.

    Melissa Melendez, vice-chair (916) 319-2067
    Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (916) 319-2059
    Holly 1. Mitchell (916) 319-2054
    Bill Quirk (916) 319-2020
    Nancy Skinner (916) 319-2015
    Marie Waldron (916) 319-2075

    A phone call is much more powerful than an email, but if you’re only able to email, get contact information at this link:

    Show me your Latino Brown Power Now!

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