The sky is not falling Twentynine Palms

"It might be time to think about running for office" if the city voluntarily changes to by-district. Much like the town of Yucca Valley, 29 Palms power and politics may be ripe for meaningful and positive change. The sky is not falling.

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No one has shown anything sinister or unprincipled about neighborhood districts”? What is there to fear?

TWENTYNINE PALMS – Jenna Hunt The Desert Trail reports there are some disgruntled very pissed-off private and public sector local figures who are mad as hell about Attorney Kevin SHENKMAN’S mandate to sue 29 Palms for violations of California Voting Rights Act, or adapt by-district voting.

Some of the past and present appointed officials and supporters of at-large elections might as well have showed-up with pitchforks in hand. Most speakers during Tuesday’s council meeting believe that being forced to go to district election is a dirty-rotten business of extortion.

One prominent Yucca Valley Citizens — who has followed Twentynine Palms politics and local government for years — predicts the city council will defend a lawsuit brought by SHENKMAN.

Even even though the 29 City Council voted 4-0 to adapt district voting, they are vacillating from that vote, now that A. Patrick Muñoz | Attorneys | Rutan & Tucker comes front stage.

Appointed outside City Attorney Muñoz would certainly would make a ‘bigger’ name for himself if he were to defend a suit that would last for years.

A millions or in attorney fees is also a big incentive for Muñoz to lobby for. He’d be top gun at Rutan & Tucker (where he is a full law partner in the oldest and biggest law firm in California).

The 29 council is predisposed to attorney-devotion and they will likely, as with the 29 Palms Bond Debt misadventure, do what legal council suggests.

The safe thing to do is adapt by-district elections. Throwing the diced is risky business.

A federal lawsuit however was filed in October challenging the constitutionality of the California Voting Rights Act. It could be years before this is settled; it may end-up in the SCOTUS. Meantime the CVRA is law.

The ex-mayor of Poway (San Diego County), Don Higginson, has a public interest organization defending his case.

Higginson asserts that the Legislature did not follow Supreme Court decisions making clear that race cannot be the predominant factor in redistricting. The complaint emphasizes that the CVRA makes race the only factor in redistricting. And that Poway converted to by-level voting because they were strong armed.

The Twentynine Palms City Council has a self-preservation agenda. They have shown that they will do what it takes to accomplish their ends. Even when it takes sticking it to 29 Palms property owners with a  $33.5 million tax bill.

Given the $33.5 million (and climbing) bond debt, can the city really pay for a $9 million law suit? Where would this money come from?: Would the council be so foolish as to pierce the veil of reserve funds?

Some ague that the city of 29 made its bed and now it is sleeping in it. Throwing the dice with the council is how they govern, by the seat of their pants.

Attorney Shenkman has earned $15 million in legal fees from lawsuits in the past 15 years. He doesn’t file frivolous lawsuits.

Down the road in tough and tumble times, could 29 Palms Bond (secret) investors be at risk if the city is threatened with bankruptcy or if the city is placed under receivership?

The sky is not falling. District voting will bring changes to local power and politics. It will do many things positive, among which is that by-district neighborhood elections is a magnet for involving residents in their government. That is absent now. Only then will Councilmember be directly answerable and responsible to neighborhoods and  residents.


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