PALMDALE –- The Court of Appeal of the State of California Second Appellate District Division Five on Monday granted an immediate stay to the recent court order requested by plaintiff’s attorneys R. Rex Parris and Kevin Shenkman to require a hearing on Nov. 21 to show cause regarding contempt by the Palmdale City Council in the ongoing California Voting Rights Case.
In his ruling, presiding Justice Paul Turner wrote, “Petitioners’ (City of Palmdale) immediate stay request is granted. The respondent court’s order dated Oct. 31, 2014 is stayed pending further order of the court. Plaintiffs’ opposition to the petition, if any, must be filed within 15 days of this order.”
“We are exceedingly pleased that the Court of Appeals granted this stay,” said Palmdale City Attorney Matthew Ditzhazy. “The City can now focus on the appeal process to ensure the rights of all its citizens to vote for all of their representatives.”
“Sadly, it is clearer now more than ever that Parris and Shenkman aren’t interested in the merits of the case and instead have turned it into a political sideshow,” Ditzhazy said. “Shenkman has even personally attacked councilmember Tom Lackey in his campaign for the state assembly.”
“Perhaps Shenkman and Parris don’t believe in due process of law and the rights of appeal for all citizens like Tom Lackey and the rest of our Council do,” Ditzhazy added.
The City of Palmdale has already appealed the December 23 Final Order by Judge Mark V. Mooney which permanently enjoined at-large elections, prematurely terminated the terms of the existing councilmembers, and ordered a district-based election on June 3, 2014.
“Our appeal put all that on hold until the Court of Appeals can rule on it, which meant there was no Palmdale election in June and the current Council would continue until the appeal was heard,” Ditzhazy explained.
The plaintiffs’ lawsuit argued that minority candidates were being kept off the Palmdale City Council because of an at large voting system. In Nov. 2013, Fred 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.
[Information via press release from the City of Palmdale.]
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