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Election System

December 17, 2013
Re "A political game of musical chairs," Dec. 13 Jessica A. Levinson does a good job of explaining how term limits exacerbate the cynical and costly practice of office-jumping by elected officials. If only there was something better than term limits. Well, there could be. I suggest we replace term limits with a system in which an officeholder can run for a third term, but he or she would have to win with at least 55% of the vote. For a fourth term, the threshold would be 60%. What this could achieve, besides giving these office hogs less reason to engage in musical chairs, is an opportunity to keep someone in office if the constituents want it. California is a laboratory for many new ideas and innovations.
July 5, 2000
In your June 27 editorial you "mourned" the end of California's blanket primary by a Supreme Court decision. You hinted that California may even find that the real need is for an effective state campaign reform system. Let's take a look at Maine. That state has enacted full public financing for qualified candidates who are running for state offices. One-third of Maine's candidates are now receiving such public funding. These candidates are enthusiastic about Maine's election system, which frees them from ties to moneyed special-interest groups.
September 13, 2012 | By Jean Merl, Los Angeles Times
If the spectacle of two career Democrats going at it over bragging rights to Republican support seems odd, blame it on California's new election system. The June primary sent the top two vote-getters to the November election, producing several same-party contests in which candidates are vying for voters outside their own party. The competition for that unusual support has reached ferocious proportions in the high-profile clash between seasoned Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman.
June 27, 2013 | By Jean Merl
A Latino activist organization is stepping up its longtime efforts to change the way elections are conducted in the city of Whittier, the group announced this week. The Whittier Latino Coalition delivered a letter from its law firm to city officials during Tuesday's council meeting that charged the city of violating state and federal voting rights laws by continuing to elect its council members from the city at large. The coalition believes that at-large voting puts underrepresented minority groups at a disadvantage and wants the city to create geographic districts to elect council members.
November 20, 2013 | By Jean Merl
The ABC Unified School District in Cerritos has become the latest jurisdiction to switch election systems in the face of lawsuits alleging violations of the California Voting Rights Act. The district's board voted Tuesday to settle a lawsuit brought against it and to implement a new election system. The settlement was announced Wednesday in separate news releases by the district and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, which brought the suit on behalf of Latino residents.
July 25, 2013 | By Frank Shyong and Joseph Serna
In a new critique of how minorities are treated in the Antelope Valley, a judge has ruled that Palmdale violated state voting laws by maintaining an election system that stymied Latinos and blacks from winning office. The judge's findings come a month after the U.S. Justice Department accused Palmdale, Lancaster and the L.A. County Sheriff's Department of a systematic effort to discriminate against minorities who received low-income subsidized housing. Federal officials said deputies conducted widespread unlawful searches of homes, improper detentions and used unreasonable force that specifically targeted blacks and Latinos.
January 7, 2014 | By Paloma Esquivel
The city of Anaheim will ask voters to decide in November whether to create electoral districts in order to settle a voting rights lawsuit that claimed Latinos were politically disadvantaged in the city's at-large elections. The suit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2012 on behalf of three residents who accused the city of violating the California Voting Rights Act. It came at a time when turbulent protests over the police shootings of two Latino men had roiled the city and exposed deep divisions between the city's affluent communities and its less-prosperous Latino neighborhoods.
January 15, 1989
Recent action by five members of the San Diego City Council to deny federal funds to Councilman Bob Filner's district have been characterized by some members of the media as confirming their worst fears about the effect of district-only elections on council decisions. Longtime opponents of district elections are claiming that the five council members who took San Ysidro's share of the Community Development Block Grant funds were mindful of never again having to worry about getting votes in San Ysidro.
September 30, 2013 | By Jean Merl
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Monday ordered a halt to Palmdale's November municipal election on grounds that the city's at-large method of choosing council members violates the California Voting Rights Act. Officials of Palmdale, one of several cities that have been sued under the decade-old law, said they would file an immediate appeal.  In July, Judge Mark V. Mooney found that the city's election system undermines opportunities...
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