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Endorsement watch: Sometimes the answer is No

The Chron recommend a No vote on the Pasadena redistricting referendum.

Pasadena City Council

There is no need for mid-decade redistricting in Pasadena, least of all with a plan that has been dug out of the trash.

The once lily-white town of Pasadena has grown over the past decade to become majority Hispanic, but a large population doesn’t necessarily mean political power. Voter registration is low in the Hispanic community, yet the tide is turning. Hispanic voting strength teeters on the precipice of political power. So it should be no surprise that longtime political insiders are pushing a plan that seems specifically designed to stop that change from happening. It would be nefarious if it wasn’t so obvious. Instead of Pasadena’s current eight single-member city council districts, the new scheme would use a mixed system of two at-large seats and six single-member seats. The larger districts threaten to dilute minority voting strength, keeping the huddled masses outside the golden door of democracy for who knows how many more years. Plans to replace single-member seats with at-large have been blocked for decades as potentially discriminatory, and there is no reason to think that this one is any different.

[…]

If Proposition One supporters felt that Pasadena needed at-large representation on council, then they should have worked during the normal post-census redistricting to come up with a consensus plan that could pass without controversy. Instead, they pulled an old trick out of their books, already stamped with disapproval from the Justice Department, and are trying to get it passed during an off-year election.

The editorial is a companion to their earlier story about the referendum. Would have been nice if this had run earlier, like before early voting ended, but better late than never.

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