Why I'm Voting NO On Measure EE
CONTEMPLATING MEASURE EE
The election is just over a week away - some of you have probably already mailed in your ballots - but I thought I'd share my views on Measure EE.
WHAT IS IT?
What is Measure EE? It's the item placed on the ballot by the Costa Mesa City Council that's supposed to meet the requirements of a settlement agreement agreed upon earlier this year... it doesn't.
THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
I wrote about this issue in the Daily Pilot earlier this month, HERE. You can read that long explanation if you wish, but let me give you the thumbnail version of why I won't be voting for this plan.
A LEGAL SETTLEMENT REQUIRES THE VOTERS TO CHOOSE
We are required by a settlement agreement to present to the voters on November 8th a plan to carve up Costa Mesa into districts from which future City Council members would be elected. No longer would council members be elected at-large - the way they have for more than 6 decades.
DEMOGRAPHER CARVED UP THE CITY
To accomplish this task a demographer/consultant, David Ely, was hired and, through a series of community meetings, developed several options which had roughly equal number of residents, each of which produced a Latino population majority district - the goal of the lawsuit so Costa Mesa would meet state and federal voting rights laws.
PARTICIPANTS FAVORED A 5-DISTRICT OPTION
The most favored of those choices were two 5-district maps, each slightly different than the other, but both retained basically the same Latino district.
RIGHEIMER REQUIRED A 6-DISTRICT/DIRECTLY-ELECTED MAYOR OPTION
Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer asked the demographer to create a 6-district map that would also require a directly-elected mayor - the council must have an uneven number of members. Under this plan no longer would the mayor be chosen from among the 5 council members.
THEN FORCED IT ONTO THE BALLOT
When it came time to select a plan to place before the voters Righeimer jammed his 6-district scheme down the throats of the council members and his male majority carried the day. That's what we're voting on on November 8th.
ANOTHER POWER GRAB ATTEMPT
In my view, this is just another scheme to solidify power in the city by Righeimer and his cronies. Whatever plan is chosen, it will begin to be implemented at the elections of 2018, at the time Righeimer is termed out of a council seat, but could be eligible for the directly-elected mayor seat.
LET A JUDGE CHOOSE...
If Measure EE fails in the election the issue will likely be placed before a judge, who could select a map for us to implement, and it's unlikely that judge would choose a map already rejected by the voters of this city. It's likely that a 5-district choice - one of those preferred by the voters - would be selected. The mayor would continue to be chosen by his peers.
DON'T FORGET HIS TWO CHARTER FAILURES
In my view, Measure EE should be voted down and let the judge choose a map - and abandon Righeimer's latest power grab. Don't forget his TWO failed Charter schemes!