Arcadia is often seen as a serene, quite city with some beautiful homes, an award-winning school district, a world class horse racing track as well as the ever-popular Los Angeles County Arboretum.
However, few see — especially now during the pandemic —the political calculations that happen in the city.
Arcadia residents tell us they are concerned that the redistricting rules have changed the city’s voting requirements so much that it is hard to vote for someone you are not familiar with. Therefore, some voters told Arcadia Weekly they simply don’t vote anymore.
The recent council meeting was, indeed, contentious, as one of my colleagues wrote last week.
And it appears there’s a push to change the political environment back to at-large voting.
The redistricting of Arcadia has seen more of a division on council in recent years and the votes so often are 3-2. A few years ago the voters in Arcadia found themselves with unacceptable and often impracticable redistricting which subsequently left out thousands of potential votes.
Arcadia was told to change its electoral process. The HQH Chinese American Equalization Association (HQH CAEA) alleged the city was in violation of the California Voting Rights Act and had to convert from at-large voting to a by-district system to allow more Asian American representation on the council. “My client is doing this in the best interest of the city … to make sure that everyone in the city has a say,” the group’s attorney Richard McDonald said in November 2016.
When voters cast a ballot, they expect their votes to matter in choosing representatives who are responsive, reflective, and accountable to the communities they represent. Election districts for federal, state, and local offices should be drawn to advance those ends.