Roseville 'intents' to switch to by-district voting in 2020; Suen is Elk Grove's most vulnerable to by-district change

Like several California municipalities and special districts, the City of Roseville is being compelled to change how it's city council is elected.

Information posted today on social media notes Roseville "intents" to voluntarily switch to by-district voting for the November, 2020 general election.

In a statement on their website, the city acknowledged the decision to conduct by-district elections was compelled under the threat of a civil and voting rights lawsuit.

The statement said "At the September 4, 2019 Roseville City Council meeting, after weighing the legal implications and costs of potential litigation, the City Council approved a resolution of intention to transition to district-based elections. Currently the City has an 'at-large' voting system whereby all voters may vote for all five Council seats."

Similarly, Elk Grove has been threatened with what could be a costly lawsuit by attorney Kevin Shenkman on behalf of the Southwest Voter Education Representation Project. Shenkman, who has successfully sued several California municipalities resulting in multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded settlements, contend at-large systems like Elk Grove's is in violation of the California Voters Rights Act of 2002.

Although the Elk Grove City Council has scheduled conducted two of the four public hearings on the matter, four members - Steve Detrick, Pat Hume, Stephanie Nguyen, and Darren Suen have expressed resistance to the change. Hume has floated the idea at a previous meeting to put the matter on a citywide vote.

Suen, who is from District 1, could be affected by the change because of his support for California Northstate University's controversial proposed hospital project. Suen has received substantial blowback from several District 1 voters who oppose the project and have forced him into a corner over his support for the project. 

If the Elk Grove City Council is able to delay switching to by-district elections until 2022, it will greatly improve Suen's 2020 reelection prospects. However, if Suen runs in a by-district election, his prospects, given district opposition to the hospital project, are not as certain.   

On Wednesday night the Elk Grove City Council will conduct the third public hearing on the possible switch to by-district voting during its regular city council meeting. 

Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2019. All right reserved.

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Eye on Elk Grove said...

It would behoove the Elk Grove City Council to follow the Roseville City Council's lead here.

Is Elk Grove City Council willing to gamble with the people's money on a lawsuit just to save Darren Suen's seat? What hubris!

If true, Council members Detrick, Hume, Nguyen and Suen should pony up their developer money and pay the legal fees themselves. Council members, make your checks payable to Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard and to Kevin Shenkman, Esq. to reimburse his legal fees.

Hope you all got millions of dollars and you better not stick the taxpayers with the bill because of your refusal to see what Roseville, and may other cities, saw very clearly!

And sorry Pat Hume, your stall tactics regarding a ballot question did not fool anyone. You asked City Attorney Jon Hobbs that question as if you didn't already know the answer . . .better practice your acting in the mirror a bit more.

Randy Bekker said...

Those that ask questions that know the answers do so for the benefit of others. With a gun to the cities head to change how we elect city council members it will unfortunately be done real soon and change to by District voting. For those that have forced this change or support the change they will bear the responsibility once the citizens find out their rights of voting for their city leaders were taken from them under false pretenses, lies and deception. Be proud of what you own as by District voting comes with it’s own set of issues. It does not make Districts smaller, it doesn’t not control campaign financing, it does not help women or POC. It is a system that I would guess in 10-15 years will pit District against District like Sacramento. You just cheapened the city you live in, be proud of what you accomplished!

Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

Mr. Bekker’s comments remind me what Mark Twain said about the reports of his death being greatly exaggerated.

Change can be unsettling, and it appears those who are predicting the death of communities like Elk Grove when the move to by-district voting comes are exaggerating the effects it will have on the city. On the contrary, it will increase civic participation, which strengthens democratic institutions.

Fear not Mr. Bekker; change is inevitable and useful, especially when it expands civil and voter rights, which this change will facilitate. Your arguments are reminiscent of those we heard in the 1960s by those who opposed the passage of civil rights legislation.

So, I ask you, Mr. Bekker - would you prefer living in our integrated, diverse city of the 21st century or prefer the segregated, all-white Elk Grove of the 1950s? We are, after all, working toward a “more perfect union.”

Randy Bekker said...

Captain, it’s not that I fear change it’s that the argument to switch has not been factual. Sacramento Council is a good testament of how poorly by District works. The only way of adding more involvement is to add Districts the changing to by District voting will only create infighting. We may not see it but future Council’s with members only caring about their districts will not move the city forward together. Like I said Sacramento is a good vision of how poorly by District works. I hope I am proven wrong but it is hard to ignore the facts.

Eye on Elk Grove said...

Capt. Willard, your comment certainly puts the doom and gloom hysterics of by-district voting to rest. As I stated above, reading over my typo, most CA cities are by-district. What’s next? If Elk Grove goes by-district, using scare tactics that Old Town will be become a skid row, is just not true.

The Old Town merchants would never allow it, nor would the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce, not to mention residents who would hold the entire Elk Grove City Council accountable at public comment and at the ballot box.

The four Council members strategy here, by their comments and that of their proxies, is intended to manipulate public opinion about the by-district issue by arousing fear and alarm. Sound familiar?

What’s the next scare tactic, saying Elk Grove will become a “sh**hole” city?

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