Los Angeles, CA - Latino residents of Whittier, through their attorneys, Rod Pacheco and Felix Woo of Denton's law firm, filed a motion for preliminary injunction today at the Los Angeles County Superior Court to stop the Whittier city council elections scheduled for April 2014. The motion was made based on the grounds that irreparable injury will result if the elections take place as scheduled.
Rod Pacheco, attorney for the plaintiffs stated, "My clients remain deeply concerned about the politics that continue to be played by the Whittier City Council in their effort to hold one more unlawful election. They need to consider their citizens first, not their own reelections."
The motion was made on behalf of three Whittier residents who are plaintiffs that have filed suit against the city of Whittier for violations of the California Voter Rights Act. The plaintiffs are members of the Whittier Latino Coalition who have claimed that Whittier's at-large election have prevented them from electing candidates of their choice due to voter polarization.
Retired State Senator Richard Polanco, author the California Voter Rights Act, stated, "The at-large election process in the city of Whittier dilutes the Latino vote, which results in the polarization of voters. As the author of California Voter Rights Act, my intention was to remedy the unlawful voter rights violations immediately. This form of discrimination is wrong and should not be allowed."
Whittier voters have elected only one Latino to city council since 1898 when the city incorporated, yet Whittier's is 65.7% Latino.
Angie Medina, chairperson of the Whittier Latino Coalition, said, "We believe that it is imperative that the city of Whittier suspend all council elections until the voter rights violations are resolved. Whittier should stop wasting taxpayers' dollars on a flawed election system that violates the law. "
The Whittier Latino Coalition (WLC) is a nonpartisan community based organization founded in 1998. The mission of WLC is to increase the civic participation of Latinos in the greater Whittier area.