Moreno: Anaheim moving too slow on changing voting system

Anaheim City Council Special Meeting

Bear Guerra/KPCC

Anaheim residents hold signs in support of a vote to increase the number of city council members and establish voting districts. Latinos in the community feel that they currently lack representation in city government.

The Anaheim City Council decided this week to form a citizen advisory committee to study the city's at-large voting system.

The plans call for any potential changes to the voting system suggested by the committee be placed on the June 2014 ballot. Under that scenario, the earliest any new voting system would take effect would be November 2014.

But during two recent public meetings, an overwhelming majority of people told the council they are in favor of creating council districts.

Many pointed out that Anaheim, with a population of 350,000, is the largest city in California that does not have a district system.

The ACLU and Los Amigos of Orange County, a Latino community group, are suing the city over its at-large voting system, claiming it does not provide fair representation for Anaheim residents, including the city's 53 percent Latino majority.

The city council voted 3-2 against putting a measure on the November 2012 ballot to create six council districts. Instead, they decided to create a committee to study the at-large system.

"What is most disappointing is that this Council majority is willing to continue an at-large system that violates the law simply because of the deep monied and political interests of the shadow city government known as the Anaheim Resort District," said Jose Moreno, president of Los Amigos of Orange County. "I wonder who would be the villain in this drama if it were a Disney Movie?"

Four of the five Anaheim City Council members live in the affluent Anaheim Hills neighborhood. Moreno and others say this highlights the lack of representation.

He also says more resources are poured into the city's resort district while many neighborhoods are neglected.

The city invited residents to submit an application to be on the committee.

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