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January 21
1914 - Signal newspaper owner-editor Scott Newhall born in San Francisco [story]


vote[KHTS] A superior court judge again upheld the legality of cumulative voting, which was again challenged by language in a statement by city of Santa Clarita attorneys.

The move led to speculation in open court Monday that a new lawsuit challenging the legality of cumulative voting could be forthcoming, officials said.

The question came up because city of Santa Clarita officials filed legal briefs questioning whether cumulative voting was legal — after agreeing to adopt cumulative voting as a remedy for an alleged California Voting Rights Act violation.

Santa Clarita City Council members voted 4-1 to adopt cumulative voting and move elections to even-numbered years during a closed session meeting in March.

The move was part of a California Voting Rights Act lawsuit settlement, which alleged Hispanic voters were being denied the ability to pick their candidate of choice due to the existence of racially polarized voting.

Cumulative voting is commonly used in corporate America, and several cities have used it to remedy a Voting Rights Act violation. It’s a system in which, for example, if there were three City Council seats on the ballot, the voter could vote for three different candidates or give all three of his or her votes to one candidate.

Judge Terry Green denied a motion in July brought forth by attorneys for the city of Santa Clarita, who contended city officials didn’t have the authority to enact the agreed-upon settlement terms of the lawsuit brought forth by two residents, Jim Soliz and Rosemarie Sanchez-Fraser.

An attorney for plaintiffs, Soliz and Sanchez-Fraser, called the city’s stance “bizarre,” and questioned why Santa Clarita city officials would authorize a settlement and then question its legality, in a previous interview.

Another attempt Monday by city attorneys to insert language to make the remedy sound illegal prompted speculation in court the city would support a civil lawsuit against cumulative voting.

Joe Montes, the city of Santa Clarita’s attorney for this case, didn’t return a call seeking comment Monday afternoon.

In a previous interview, Montes said the city would re-evaluate how to proceed after Monday’s ruling.

“If cumulative voting is not permitted and we’re not allowed to change the election date, then the parties will have to confer again as to how the matter will proceed,” Montes said in a previous interview. “It could mean that the litigation resumes, it could mean settlement talks could have to resume — that’s just too far off to speculate at this point.”

Kevin Shenkman, the attorney for Soliz and Sanchez-Fraser, said if the city continued to challenge the agreed-upon remedy, whether in the instant case or another, then officials would risk another lawsuit, which could have greater consequences for city officials.

“What we will do if that occurs, is we will file another CVRA lawsuit,” Shenkman said, “and we will insist on the same sort of relief that was obtained in our case against the city of Palmdale.”

A similar lawsuit against Palmdale alleging CVRA violations is still being fought in appeals, but Shenkman was awarded more than $3.6 million in fees and is seeking to have Palmdale City Council members held in contempt for purporting to be council members past July 9 in defiance of the court’s judgment, he said. Palmdale has also been ordered to go to district-based elections.

No party has ever successfully defended a California Voting Rights Act lawsuit, according to officials.

If a private party files a suit challenging cumulative voting in Santa Clarita, Shenkman said, then that party will ultimately be held responsible for any legal fees incurred to defend that lawsuit. Shenkman & Hughes would view such a lawsuit as an attack on minority voters’ rights, Shenkman said, and do whatever it takes to ensure that private party faces the consequences – which would almost certainly include being on the wrong side of a judgment for several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Friday, Jan 19, 2018
Jan. 22: Filming in Valencia Prompts Street Closures
On Monday, January 22, 2018, traffic on McBean Parkway, between Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard, will experience delays intermittently between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. due to filming involving a Cessna airplane that will land at Valencia Country Club. It is anticipated there will be fewer than five brief closures throughout the day and each will last for approximately two to five minutes.
Friday, Jan 19, 2018
Monroy Sentenced to 21 Years for 2016 Newhall Murder
Joseph Wayne Monroy, a South Gate man charged with the murder of a Newhall man in January 2016, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Los Angeles Superior Court today, and was sentenced to 21 years in prison.
Friday, Jan 19, 2018
Brown Expands High-Speed Rail Exec Team to Move Project Forward
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has appointed Joseph Hedges to the position of Chief Operating Officer and Pamela Mizukami as Chief Deputy Director of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1914 - Signal newspaper owner-editor Scott Newhall born in San Francisco [story]
1993 - Hart High grad Dee Dee Myers (1979) becomes first female White House press secretary [story]
On Monday, January 22, 2018, traffic on McBean Parkway, between Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard, will experience delays intermittently between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. due to filming involving a Cessna airplane that will land at Valencia Country Club. It is anticipated there will be fewer than five brief closures throughout the day and each will last for approximately two to five minutes.
Jan. 22: Filming in Valencia Prompts Street Closures
Attorneys Brian Koegle and David Poole of Santa Clarita Valley law firm Poole & Shaffery, LLP will provide insight on legal matters affecting California businesses at the Valley Industry Association's February luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on February 20 starting at 11:45 a.m.
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Oak Hills Educational Foundation and Oak Hills PTA will be hosting their annual science fair at Oak Hills School in Valencia in the form of an exciting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Expo event on Jan. 23rd-26th.
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The nonprofit SCV Mayor’s Committee For Employment of Individuals with Disabilities will host its second annual Educate-Empower-Employ Recognition Luncheon at COC on Thursday, February 22.
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Joseph Wayne Monroy, a South Gate man charged with the murder of a Newhall man in January 2016, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Los Angeles Superior Court today, and was sentenced to 21 years in prison.
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Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has appointed Joseph Hedges to the position of Chief Operating Officer and Pamela Mizukami as Chief Deputy Director of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
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Kruczynski Named Hart District Fiscal Services Director
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The Santa Clarita City Council will consider purchasing the 4,598-square-foot building Roger Dunn Golf Shop building in Newhall when the council meets next week.
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Kevin Young has been selected as the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) 2018 Katie Jacobson Writer-in-Residence. Young will conduct workshops with CalArts students in the MFA Creative Writing Program and present public readings, which will be held at CalArts on Feb. 15 at 7:00 p.m. and at REDCAT in Downtown Los Angeles on Feb. 16 at 8:30 p.m.
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