LATINO VOICES

Lawsuit Alleges Anti-Latino Bias In California City's At-Large Electoral System

People gather at South Alvarado Street and West 7th Street, an area with high density of Latin American descent immigrants re
People gather at South Alvarado Street and West 7th Street, an area with high density of Latin American descent immigrants resides in Los Angeles Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. Within six months, California's Hispanic population will equal that of whites and soon after will surpass it, a milestone in the country's shifting demographics. Population projections to be released Thursday by the state Department of Finance show that Hispanics will become the dominant ethnic group in California for the first time since it gained statehood during the Gold Rush era. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Latinos and African Americans make up about two-thirds of the population of Palmdale. But since the city's incorporation in August 1962, not a single black resident and only one Latino has ever served on the City Council.

That's the backdrop of a complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Antelope Valley civil rights activists alleging racial bias in city elections in this High Desert locale. The complaint argues that Palmdale's system of at-large council seats dilutes the influence of minority voters.

"Latinos and African Americans are locked out of the political system in the city of Palmdale," said Malibu attorney Kevin Shenkman, who is representing plaintiff Juan Jauregui, a Palmdale resident. Three local black activists and the NAACP have also said they will join the case, scheduled to go to trial in May.

Read more on The Los Angeles Times

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