Here is the reason the Angry Poodle Barbecue‘s kumbaya compromise endorsing the hybrid system (four district election seats, three at-large seats including the mayor) won’t work. It is no different than the full “at-large” system that we have had in Santa Barbara since 1968. It’s not me saying that, it’s what the California State Legislature says.

Elections Code §14027 prohibits an “at-large” system that impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or to influence the outcome of an election. Elections Code §14026(a)(3) includes in its definition of “at-large”: any system that combines both district and at-large elections, i.e., the hybrid, which the solution proposed here. This hybrid is exactly what the statute bans.

Much smarter people than us have deemed the hybrid simply a ruse to suck in the unsuspecting so they agree to a compromise. But, in effect, the city winds up with the same corrupt system: an at-large one, dominated by the same power elite, election after election, denying minority areas favorable representatives. How? By making these at-large elections too expensive; by forcing candidates to toe the party line so they can join a “block of three candidates” to convince voters that the “block” will be the best for the city. In fact, the block is just good for the power elite, and the minority areas get no lighting, policing, sidewalks, storm drains, etc.

I guess posting signs all over the city that “you are entering a tsunami zone” (when a tsunami might occur once every 1,000 years) is a better expenditure of money than to have safe streets.


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