PALMDALE – In a press release issued Thursday, Palmdale city officials took aim at an injunction filed to halt the city’s Nov. 5 election. Read the press release below:
In a perplexing move, the Plaintiff’s Attorney Duo of Kevin Shenkman and Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris have requested that the court stop Palmdale from holding its regularly scheduled municipal election which is guaranteed to produce the result they claimed couldn’t occur under Palmdale’s at-large voting system —namely elect a minority candidate to the City Council.
“This decision just provides further proof that Parris and Shenkman are only interested in gouging the taxpayers to line their pockets,” said Palmdale City Attorney Matt Ditzhazy. “There are four candidates vying for two seats: Tom Lackey, Fred Thompson, Sir Daniel Duplechan, and Richard Loa. Three of the four candidates are minorities. That means at least one and possibly two minority candidates will be elected to the Palmdale City Council in November.”
Shenkman and Parris originally sued the City of Palmdale under the California Voting Rights Act claiming that the existence of racially polarized voting in the City prevented minority candidates from being elected. Palmdale currently utilizes an at-large system for its elections, as does Lancaster and the vast majority of California cities. Shenkman and Parris, purportedly to increase the likelihood that a minority candidate is elected, are petitioning the court to force the City to halt any election until the City uses a district method, like the City of Los Angeles.
The problem is that Shenkman and Parris are attempting to stop an election where at least one minority candidate is essentially guaranteed to win a seat on the City Council.
“Certainly this latest move doesn’t comport with their stated ‘dubious’ litigation goal of bringing a minority voice to the Council,” said Ditzhazy. “However, it does keep the ‘meter running’ on the attorney’s fees they hope to exact from the taxpayers.”
Shenkman and Parris are embroiled in voting rights lawsuits with the City of Palmdale, City of Santa Clarita, Santa Clarita Community College District and Sulphur Springs School District. Parris has yet to join Shenkman in a voting rights lawsuit against the Lancaster School District, perhaps fearing a backlash from his voting public.