Next Step for Palmdale municipal election: Certification

Fred Thompson’s victory spits in the face of the ridiculous argument that a minority candidate cannot win a Citywide election in Palmdale, Mayor Jim Ledford said.

Fred Thompson’s victory spits in the face of the ridiculous argument that a minority candidate cannot win a Citywide election in Palmdale, Mayor Jim Ledford said.

In a press release issued Thursday, Palmdale city officials said an appellate court’s decision on certifying Palmdale’s municipal election will most likely happen in December or January. Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford and councilmember-elect Fred Thompson also gave their thoughts on the voting rights lawsuit. Read the press release below:

Despite attempts from plaintiff’s attorneys Kevin Shenkman and Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris to halt Palmdale’s municipal election through a voting rights lawsuit, voters headed to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 5 and re-elected Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford and Councilmember Tom Lackey, as well as selecting new Councilmember Frederic Thompson.

“Although they caused immeasurable confusion and angst among our residents, the plaintiffs were unsuccessful in court in their attempt to stop Palmdale’s election and our residents had their say at the polls,” said Palmdale’s Communications Manager John Mlynar.  “The next step in the process is for the Court of Appeals to handle the Certification of the election, which will most likely happen in December or January.”

“I couldn’t be more proud of our citizens’ determination to make their voices heard despite multiple attempts by plaintiff’s attorneys to stifle their right to vote,” said Ledford. “They not only went to the polls, but they elected a member of  a ‘protected class’ to the City Council not because of the color of his skin, but because of the quality and merits of the candidate. This is exactly what Dr. King envisioned when he boldly proclaimed, ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’

“Our residents deserve the right to vote and I vow as Mayor to ensure their rights are protected,” added Ledford.

Thompson, a retired community college dean who formerly served on the Palmdale Planning Commission and Palmdale School District board, became the first African-American to win a City Council seat but not the first minority candidate to win a Citywide election.

“Fred Thompson’s victory spits in the face of the plaintiff’s ridiculous argument that a minority candidate cannot win a Citywide election in Palmdale,” Ledford said. “He is the latest in a long list of minority candidates who have won citywide elections in Palmdale, including school and water boards.”

“The citizens of Palmdale didn’t vote for me because of or, in spite of, the color of my skin – or theirs,” Thompson said.  “They voted for me on Tuesday for the same reasons they voted for me over thirty years ago: I understood the voters’ issues, I made myself known in the community, I had the support of other community leaders, I put the work in to get my message to the voters, and I ran an effective campaign.  What part of that formula is this lawsuit trying to ‘fix?’”

“I understand the impulse to explain elections based on a single factor, in this case race, but you can’t do that in Palmdale,” added Thompson.  “You certainly can’t explain Tuesday’s elections in Palmdale using race.  In the race for Palmdale School District you had white candidates both win and lose, you had Hispanic candidates both win and lose.  You had African-Americans elected to both the City Council and the Palmdale School Board.”

“The voting rights lawsuit gives the impression this is a racist community, and it is not. There isn’t a neighborhood in Palmdale that you can drive into that isn’t integrated,” Thompson said.

Meanwhile, the City is awaiting the decision of the Superior Court judge as to the remedy for the original ruling in the voting rights case. “Undoubtedly we will appeal that decision as well,” Ditzhazy said. “We believe our residents —all of them— are best served by an election process in which the voters have full say over all the candidates, rather than in a district situation where voters have their say over one candidate, while 4 other councilmembers have power over them.”

“I’ve been asked if there is a racist motive behind plaintiffs’ efforts to prevent an African-American from being seated on our council,” said Palmdale City Attorney Ditzhazy said.  “I don’t think so.  I think they need to prevent Mr. Thompson from being seated on the council because it undermines their pretext for bringing this suit.  This case isn’t about bringing diversity to the City Council—it’s about plaintiffs’ attorneys leveraging a poorly drafted statute for political power and easy money. Everyone in this state should be paying attention to what is going on here, because eventually it’s coming to your town and it’s going to cost the tax payer plenty.”

“Californians finally woke up about the abuse of the American with Disabilities Act, where attorneys were taking advantage of laws designed to ensure access to all Americans,” said Palmdale’s Deputy City Attorney Noel Doran.  “Well, now these plaintiffs’ attorneys have traded in their tape measure for a statistician who will testify that there is ‘racially polarized voting’ in your town.  In our case, the plaintiffs’ statistician testified that he hadn’t seen an American election without ‘racially polarized voting since the 1800’s,” Doran stated.

“It’s clearer now more than ever that the plaintiff’s concern isn’t about black, brown or white—it’s about green,” said Ledford. “These interlopers who do not live in our city have come here to rob our citizens of their hard earned tax dollars through a frivolous lawsuit that has no merit.”

“In addition to the money grab, you have to wonder why Parris doesn’t push for districts in his own city like he is pushing for them in Palmdale,” Ditzhazy said. “If he’s such a big believer in having 5 districts with the mayor’s position annually rotating amongst the council—like he’s proposing for Palmdale—why not do it in Lancaster for the April 2014 election? It’s just further proof that this lawsuit has nothing to do with the rights of minorities. People are seeing through this charade and quite frankly, they’re fed up with Parris and his ‘do as I say, not as I do’ behavior.”

Previous related stories:

Appellate court clears way for Palmdale city council election

Palmdale to appeal judge’s decision to cancel council election

Shenkman/Parris file injunction to halt Palmdale election

  9 comments for “Next Step for Palmdale municipal election: Certification

  1. Michael Rives
    November 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Congratulations to all of the candidates who participated in the Palmdale elections. You are all patriots!

  2. George Smith
    November 9, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Sure bears a strange resemblance to the drug kingpin in Breaking Bad!

  3. Jason Zink
    November 7, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Contrast between 2 Mayor’s

    Community Costs (Estimated) Ledford Perris

    Sewer tax $450 per house $350,000,000 $0

    College site Earthquake Land $5,000,000 $0

    Corp./Business Give Aways $50,000,000 $12,000,000

    Lawsuits $20,000,000 $4,000,000

    Eye in the Sky $0 $1,000,000

    Power Plant $20,000,000 $0

    These are esitimates no one knows for sure but the point is there is a big differents, no one ever looks at it like this just headlines. Maybe if people knew there would be a new mayor. Ledford still not coming straight about the power plant to his own people and he looks like he won’t on the college site sad to see this happening in AV.
    Palmdale is getting the rail plant at site 9 not because of anything Palmdale did, that was down below politicians on LA land.

    • Stinger
      November 8, 2013 at 12:22 am

      Keep trying, ‘Zink,’ keep trying. We all know your agenda all too well and know your sources are, to put it politely, ‘skewed.’

      • George
        November 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm

        Well, I don’t know his agenda, but he does seem to have numbers. Maybe you would like to correct the mistakes instead of just whining.

        • Son of the Anti Rex
          November 9, 2013 at 5:03 pm

          oh zink has numbers. just no sources. nothing new to the parrisites of the valley. repeat the lie. repeat the lie. repeat the lie. repeat the lie. repeat the lie. repeat the lie.

          • Stinger
            November 10, 2013 at 8:45 am


  4. William
    November 7, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I agree, Debbie. Parris is so insanely envious of Mayor Ledford, it runs him. One thing after another, he keeps trying to undermine Mayor Ledford.

    It will be his own undoing. And, that is good. Mayor Ledford always comes off the gentleman and Parris the petty, little bully with a big fat mouth.

    And, Palmdale keeps plugging along. We are getting the rail car assembly plant with very little fanfare while Parris brags and brags about his BYD plant while it was being investigated for its illegal activities.

    The contrast between the 2 mayors is like day and night. It’s quite amazing. And, I guess there’s no one in Lancaster brave enough or smart enough to tell him to cool it.

    Supposedly, he was supporting Lynn Minidis for mayor in the recent election and on election night she said that because of the litigation over the at-large council voting, her donors backed off. Poetic justice. She lost big time.

  5. Debbie Lechmand
    November 7, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    I do not understand why Parris has anything to do with Palmdale. Stay out of our city we a doing great without His input. Worry about your crummy city Lancaster!!! We have had our mayor for years much much better of a mayor and a person than you Parris.

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