Concerned Anaheim residents gathered Tuesday outside of City Hall to call on their city leaders for more representation in City Hall. Anaheim residents, represented by the ACLU, filed a lawsuit against the city of Anaheim on June 28 and this meeting was held to shed more light on it.
Currently, the four council members are seated in an open city wide election, but the lawsuit and these angry residents demand that the council seats be broken down into geographic districts.
“We don’t put our civil rights up to a popular vote. That’s not something that we do,” Eric Altman, executive director of the Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development said.
“Currently, the mayor and three out of four council members live in Anaheim Hills a relatively affluent neighborhood,” Altman said.
Some residents feel four council seats aren’t enough.
“We need at least eight districts in order to capture the specific needs and concerns of each of our neighborhoods. Eight districts will help us make candidacy an option for the average citizen by reducing the amount of money needed to run a viable campaign,” Arturo Ferreras, Anaheim South Neighborhood Council chair.
While the mayor says he can’t comment on the lawsuit, he agrees that it’s time for redistricting. Redistricting four council positions was an item on the agenda at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, but violent protests outside City Hall for the recent officer involved shootings stopped that from happening.
“If the people want to be represented by districts, they will be represented by districts” Tom Tait, mayor of Anaheim said.
The mayor plans on holding a special to vote again, but since the unrest in Anaheim he’s changed the agenda redistricting of four seats to six.
The mayor believes part of the problem with last week’s city council meeting in which protesters took to the streets is that there just wasn’t enough room at City Hall. That’s why he plans on moving the next special meeting scheduled for Aug. 8 at 4 p.m. to Anaheim High School’s auditorium.