“City Election Sea Change Santa Barbara to Initiate New District System This November”


Although a few “i”s remain to be dotted and few “t”s to be crossed, the Santa Barbara City Council voted 6-0 to settle a lawsuit charging that the at-large elections City Hall has conducted since 1971 have yielded “racially polarized” results as defined by the California Voting Rights Act. The five plaintiffs who brought the lawsuit pointed out that only one Latino — Cathy Murillo — had been elected to the council since 2000 even though Latinos make up 38 percent of the population and 24 percent of eligible voters. As part of the settlement, the council agreed to begin holding district elections this November, when three seats come up for grabs.

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