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May 22
1865 - Discoverer Ramon Perea and partner sell Pico Canyon oil claim to Edward Beale & Robert Baker for $300 [story]
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HARTLogo[KHTS] Hart district officials are holding a series of meeting to gather input on election maps expected to shape the junior high and high school district’s future ballots.

The meetings are being held by the law firm and a firm selected by district attorneys Fagan, Friedman and Fulfrost, according to William S. Hart Union High School District officials.

The meetings will be held on the following times and locations: on Nov. 6, at Sierra Vista Junior High; on Nov. 17, at Placerita Junior High; on Nov. 20, at Arroyo Seco Junior High; on Dec. 2, at Rio Norte Junior High; and on Dec. 3, at Castaic Middle School.

The meetings will be held from 6-7:30 p.m., and are expected to include a question-and-answer session.

There are expected to be board members at the meeting, however, due to election maps concerns, there will not be more than two board members present at any of the meetings, according to officials.

District maps were drawn by a firm selected by attorneys for the William S. Hart Union High School District, according to Hart district President Steve Sturgeon.

From a previous story:

The criteria used by the firm was presented at a recent governing board meeting, ahead of public outreach meetings slated to gain input, he said. (Here’s a link to the presentation given by The Dolinka Group.)

Hart district officials announced in June their intent to look at a district-based election, ahead of a letter from Shenkman & Hughes, the law firm suing the city and two school districts, according to district Spokeswoman Gail Pinsker.

The move came two days before the district received the letter from the law firm, but after the letter was sent from Shenkman & Hughes, according to Kevin Shenkman.

The lawsuits and the letters claim local governing boards are in violation of the California Voting Rights Act because they deny minority representation due to racially polarized voting in at-large elections. Remedies in the past have included moving a district’s election to match up with the general election, employing cumulative voting and adopting district or trustee-area elections.

Under the current at-large system, all five representatives are elected to represent the entirety of the William S. Hart Union High School District, which covers nearly all of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Under a trustee-based or districting system, the governing board overall would represent the same area, but each member would be elected by voters in one of five districts, which are created by the maps presented Wednesday.

District staff was directed to set up five public meetings for input on two maps, said Gail Pinsker, Hart district spokeswoman.

The maps drew a caution from one of the attorneys who has sued several local governing bodies over alleged California Voting Rights Act violations, who warned that incumbency isn’t something that can be taken into consideration when drawing electoral maps, according to state law.

The proposed district maps, presented Wednesday at a governing board meeting, have each current board member in his or her own district.

While that fact in and of itself isn’t a problem, the fact that incumbency was given consideration poses a concern, according to state law.

“I think that the Hart school district would be risking legal action if they were to adopt those particular districts,” said Shenkman.

“The place of residence of any incumbent or political candidate shall not be considered in the creation of a map,” according to Article XXI of the state’s Constitution, available here. “Districts shall not be drawn for the purpose of favoring or discriminating against an incumbent, political candidate or political party.”

 

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1 Comment

  1. Mark Archuleta says:

    The article implies there will be a link to Article XXI of the California Constitution. It’s missing.

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