Los Angeles, CA – MALDEF filed a lawsuit against the City of Placentia today for breaching a 2016 settlement agreement to secure Latino voting rights as required by the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA).
MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) filed a breach of contract complaint in Orange County Superior Court after the City Council adopted a districting plan that violates various provisions of the 2016 agreement, in which Placentia agreed to convert from at-large to district-based elections and to adopt a plan containing an effective and contiguous Latino-majority district in time for the November 2018 elections.
“Placentia was not simply required to transition to district-based elections, it was required to convert to a lawful plan that actually restores the voting rights of disenfranchised Latinos,” said Julia Gomez, MALDEF staff attorney. “Instead, Placentia adopted a plan with a tortured configuration of elongated districts that were not designed to provide neighborhood representation.”
The map adopted by the council on May 1 violates the settlement agreement because the plan “contains a non-contiguous Latino-majority district, intentionally splits up neighborhoods and communities of interests, and is not tailored to remedy the CVRA violation because the Latino- majority district is not designed to afford Latino voters a meaningful opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice to the City Council,” the complaint states.
The letter sent by MALDEF in May demanded that the council act to adopt a compliant map at its regularly scheduled June 5 meeting or to convene a special meeting to take action. It warned that MALDEF would file a lawsuit to enforce the settlement agreement if the council failed to act by today, June 15.