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Local News in Brief : Voters to Decide Form of Council

The Pomona City Council has decided to allow voters to determine whether council members should continue to be elected at-large or whether they should run in districts.

Voters rejected such a proposed change 16 years ago, and the city successfully defended itself two years ago against a lawsuit seeking to impose districts.

The city is now divided into four council districts. Council members must live in the district they represent but are elected by a citywide vote. Although the city’s population is 30% Latino and 19% black, only three members of ethnic minorities have ever been elected to the council.

In July, a federal appellate judge ruled that Watsonville, a city of 25,000 in Santa Cruz County, had discriminated against Latinos by having its council members elected at-large.

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“It would be in the best interests of Pomona to do it on our own rather than having the court tell us what to do,” said Councilwoman Nell Soto, who proposed the referendum, which will be on the March ballot.


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