Monday, May 16, 2011

Extremist lawyer sues county over lack of minority elected officials

Extremist lawyer sues county over lack of minority elected officials.

Professional civil rights hustler, Robert Rubin, is demanding the implementation of a voting scheme that would guarantee the election of at least one Asian and one Hispanic.

From New York Times…

But some say that gulf also underscores a gap in political representation for ethnic and racial minorities in San Mateo County that is unique in California.

San Mateo is the only county in California that still elects its Board of Supervisors through at-large elections in which all candidates run countywide. In the past three decades, all 57 other counties in the state have moved to a district system, whereby the county is split into districts and each elects its own representative.

Last month, Ms. Ortega and eight other plaintiffs sued San Mateo County in an effort to change the way voters elect the powerful Board of Supervisors. Latinos and Asians make up half of the county’s population, yet they rarely hold high-ranking elected offices.

Ms. Ortega and her fellow plaintiffs in the lawsuit argue that the county is in violation of the California Voting Rights Act of 2001, which outlawed at-large voting in places with histories of racially polarized voting or where minority groups are “too geographically dispersed to elect their candidate of choice from a single member district.”

Since 1995, only one Latino — and not a single Asian — has won countywide office in San Mateo, said Robert Rubin, a lawyer at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which represents the plaintiffs. Although the 2010 census showed that for the first time in San Mateo County history, non-Hispanic whites — who are now 42.9 percent of the population — fell out of the majority, four out of five current supervisors are white. The fifth, who is African-American, was appointed to a vacant seat by the board in 1999.

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