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Will a lack of minorities on the Fullerton City Council lead to a lawsuit?

Jan Flory

I received an email this week from an Asian activist who was wondering why it is that the Fullerton City Council has no Asians or Latinos on it, even though they make up over 56% of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

That is a very good question.  The elections in Fullerton are done on an at large basis, which is to say that everyone in town votes for the Council candidates as a whole.  Other cities may require candidates to live in particular districts or areas, and the voters may in those cases be able to vote only on their ward-specific candidates.

Critics say that leads to divided Councils where nothing gets done.  However ward-specific elections can also increase minority representation as some districts, or wards, may have higher concentrations of minority voters.

It’s not like Asians and Latinos are not running for the Fullerton City Council.  In fact there may be something else at play here as well.

In last year’s November General Election, the top four vote-getters for the Fullerton City Council were all white, according to Smart Voter.  Three of them won – Bruce Whitaker, Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jan Flory (pictured above).  Travis Kiger, who had won a short term City Council seat during last year’s June Recall/Election, barely lost, to Flory.

The fifth place candidate was a Latino, Rick Alvarez.  He was followed by Jane Rands, a member of the Green Party.  Then came another Hispanic candidate, Kitty Duarte Jaramillo.

Jaramillo and Alvarez appeared to have similar backers – primarily Democrats and labor.  Alvarez probably hurt himself by allying with the public safety unions that have come under such scorn due to the public employee pension crisis and the murder last year of homeless man Kelly Thomas, by several members of the Fullerton Police Department.

Jaramillo also had a negative in that she was a retired city worker, from Santa Ana and Fullerton.

Here’s the problem.  If Latino candidates in Fullerton are too liberal, guess what?  They are not gong to get crossover votes, which means they will lose if there are too many candidates.  And that was the case in 2012, with a total of 12 Council candidates, all running for only three Council seats.

Asian voters have been leaning left for awhile.  They backed Obama twice now.  But liberal Asian candidates won’t fare well in Fullerton.

I believe that fiscally conservative Latino or Asian candidates could win in Fullerton…making a legal case moot.  But are such candidates available in Fullerton?

Those who want change now may resort to a lawsuit – which will cost the City of Fullerton a fortune.  I hope the Council will instead consider ward-specific Council elections.  Better yet, now is the time to start developing minority candidates who won’t be liberal union shills.

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21 Comments  comments 

21 Responses

  1. Screech

    Sorry, that’s not a good question at all. Your Asian activist friend is nuts.

    Now just tell me why a judge wouldn’t dismiss such a lawsuit immediately with prejudice and with attorney’s fees to the defendant city? I’d hope he would.

    The electorate has the absolute right to elect whomever they want. There is no racial component to elections, at least as a matter of law.

    What this article is suggesting is that the city should face a lawsuit because for some reason minority candidates either did not run or were not elected, and somehow that is the city’s fault.

    That is just ridiculous and I hope your Asian activist friend forgets about this racism crap and moves out of the country. He’s the racist here.

    • Editor

      Actually the person who contacted me was a lady. And there is a state law that addresses this situation. That is the underpinning of the similar battle going on in Anaheim.

      Personally I prefer ward specific elections as they make it a easier for activists to defeat candidates funded by special interests. Travis might have beat Jan Flory in such an election.

      I don’t like the lawsuit option but that just might happen. The lady I spoke to represents a group of Asian lawyers.

  2. Fullerton Lifer

    Anyone who would sue a City for racism or any of the above has to be movtivated with a personal agenda.
    First of all, to do damage(by suing) to a City for, who is not responsible for who does and does not run for office and then the results of that election is wanting an advantage and asking for same. Talk about stacking the deck in their favor. The voters in every race have a choice. If Hispanics or Asians want to vote for a surname other than a person with the right values, that is their right but this so wrong, why not just run their own candidates and the best man/woman win.
    As for minorities, um women are minorities still right?
    As for Alvarez, he is a biggot. The Mexican population in Fullerton found that out and voted no. Jaramillo thought she was well known and yes with her friends but she did move out of Fullerton. That doesn’t bode well with voters.

    Flory had name recognition. Plus do we know what her maiden name was? Maybe she is a minority, besides being a woman, what if her name was Flores? does that make her hispanic? No, but the possiblities are endless aren’t they?

    Voting by wards would be interesting, let’s see, Flory lives somewhere north of Hillcrest Park, Fitzgerald lives somewhere near Ameriage Heights , Seborn lives somewhere near EV Free church, East Fullerton, Chaffee lives somewhere South of Hillcrest, or that is where his family lived. Whitaker lives in South/West Fullerton. So as far as “wards” go, I think we have a pretty diverse areas or wards already.

    I think your friend needs to get her facts straight before she throws out ideas like this, even if there is a law out there.

    Instead of frivilous lawsuits against the city, I would like to see this council in two years, remember there is another election then and if she wants to run, go for it, it is a free country after all, but if she does not win, blame it on herself, not the City.
    Nothing is perfect in elections but we all have a choice on who we trust, who we vote for.

    • Editor

      I agree that Jaramillo and Alvarez were flawed candidates. But the question the lawyers will be mulling over will be why no Asians or Latinos are serving on the Fullerton City Council when they make up over half of the population. If a judge decides the at large system is to blame, then it’s toast.

      • Screech

        Lawyers are the problem, lawyers in elected office are more problems. Lawyers almost invariably bring a skewed view of what’s right.

        Remember “it depends on the meaning of the word ‘is’”?

        We don’t want lawyers in public office! I try hard to avoid having to vote for any lawyers. Unfortunately often I have to hold my nose while I vote, the only candidate is a lawyer.

        Now you cite a lawyer who complains there is no one on the Fullerton council that is asian or hispanic. IOW, “no one looks like me”. Fortunately a race based preference for election to public office is absolutely illegal.

        Well feel free to run, but I will be advising voters to vote against lawyers if possible. And I don’t care what they look like.

        • Editor

          I am not saying that more lawyers are going to run but rather that a group of Asian lawyers may sue your city to force a change in your electoral system that will, ostensibly, make it easier for minorities to win in Fullerton.

          • Screech

            When the taxpayers find out later which candidates the litigious minority lawyers are backing and publicize it they will *never* be elected.

            I suspect they will get nowhere with this.

            Furthermore I would be for an initiative making a ward system illegal in Fullerton. If the voters pass that it would be very difficult to sue and get any results at all. Judges have a very hard time going against the voters in these matters. And guess what? Judges have to sit for election too, and we are watching.

            When you do things like this and it later becomes public, well, the internet can be a harsh mistress.

          • Editor

            But what is your issue with a ward specific system? It may still produce an all white council. But why not make it easier for activists to win instead of the candidates funded by the special interests?

  3. Screech

    Editor said:
    “But what is your issue with a ward specific system?”

    That’s irrelevant. Fullerton is a small town, it’s never been needed in Fullerton in all these years. Is it needed now? Maybe by certain people, it is. A group of “minority lawyers” who want someone elected on the basis that they look like “us”.

    They are threatening to get the laws changed by a judge because they don’t have enough support to win elections right now? Doesn’t that seem like subterfuge to you?

    Look, the way elections are is you throw yourself out there, and if you can convince people to vote for you you’re in. If you can’t, you’re out. That’s how it works.

    According to the Editor, we now have someone who apparently can’t win an election normally and they are threatening to get the way the election is held changed so they can?

    Does that really seem just fine to you?

    In the last election there were allegations that a certain wealthy individual was paying to get his buddies elected so he can “take over the city”. I don’t know how true that is, but the voters didn’t go along with it.

    Look, no one wants someone coming out of nowhere and trying to take over.

    No one wants lawsuits by ill mannered individuals who think they will have some advantage if they can get the rules changed. No one wants any of that. That you, Editor, seem to think it’s OK reflects badly on you.

    Hopefully the judge will just give them some attorney’s fees to pay. That would be fitting.

    • Editor

      The fact is that most cities in California have ward-specific election systems. So of course I have no problem with this. I don’t like at large systems. They favor special interests and no one should be in favor of that.

      • Screech

        And here we have minorities (a special interest) complaining they can’t win the election in an at large system, which you say somehow favors special interests?

        A ward system would somehow not favor special interests, which is why the minority lawyers you cite want to change to that?

        So which is it? You can’t have it both ways. This is sounding nonsensical.

        Either one system favors special interests or the other, or neither.

        Your minority lawyers apparently disagree with you, but that admittedly is all from your 100% hearsay blog post.

        Maybe you heard wrong.

        • Editor

          At large systems are hard to win in because you have to spend a lot of money to reach the voters. In ward specific systems you can walk your ward, get to know the voters, and win. It really is that simple.

          And a ward with a high population of minorities would probably elect one of them to represent them. What’s the harm in that?

  4. “And there is a state law that addresses this situation”……….. Hmmmmmmmm

    As always the state law seems not to apply to the Santa Ana which has 100% Mexican council and about 20 years of Mexican Mayor.

    Fortunately, the Cities ran by a council which is not tainted by the minorities are prosperous.

    However, these cities which have a Jew on the council are in a perpetuate lawsuits state because the Jews are lawsuit happy.

    The Santa Ana is a clear example of it and the Editor of the New Santa Ana blog, himself, declared 6 Mexican council members as stupid as door knob, corrupt monkeys for firing the last White City manager who, according to the Editor, was the smarter than all 6 Mexican’s IQ glued together.

    And that is the truth!

    • Editor

      Did you know that Mayor Pulido grew up in Fullerton and he graduated from Troy High School? He still has a lot of friends and family in Fullerton.

      • That does not make Pulido White non-minority which is actually an oxymoron since the Mexicans are majority which is oppressing Whites in the Santa Ana by robing, mugging, raping and murdering them.

  5. It would help to have a smart candidate too, Art. Don’t forget that one.

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