Tuesday, April 24, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 7

Santa Maria Sun / Letter To The Editor

The following article was posted on March 14th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 2 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 2

Thanks to Hector Sanchez

By Gale McNeeley - Santa Maria

I wish to thank Hector Sanchez for championing the right to choose our own councilperson from our own neighborhood in 2018, 2020, and beyond. He did this by challenging the way Santa Maria has elected its leaders since 1905. The city of Santa Barbara recently fought California election law, which supports district elections in cities like ours, and lost. So did 20 other California communities.

Our city leaders rejected a 2014 petition signed by more than 5,000 residents to put district elections on the ballot, and in the 1990s spent $1 million in litigation to prevent district elections. Ironically, current California voting law was influenced by this case, Ruiz v. City of Santa Maria.

Many years ago, Martin Luther King reminded us that, “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.” Thank you, Hector, and all who fought to make our elections more representative and community based. Because of your efforts, candidates for City Council will run only in their own neighborhoods, and will not be forced to compete citywide. They will be able to focus on the voters in their district and have time to listen to their concerns.

If we also adopt campaign spending limits, the process becomes more equitable. It encourages other qualified people to run who don’t have lots of money, but do have good ideas and the passion to carry them out. If we as a community funded elections, our leaders would be responsible only to us.

Thank you, Hector, for beginning this transition to greater fairness.

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