By Sandra Emerson, Redlands Daily Facts
Posted: 07/24/14, 11:37 AM PDT | Updated: 46 mins ago
HIGHLAND>> Voters in November will have an opportunity to decide if they want to elect City Council members by district.
The council, at a special meeting Thursday morning, agreed to place the initiative on the ballot in light of the filing of a lawsuit this week over the city’s at-large election system.
“I think me, personally, I don’t want to jeopardize the revenue of the city,” said Councilman John Timmer. “Even though I don’t think it’s good government it’s the political call at this time, I think we need to go forward and give the opportunity to voters to address this issue and tell us what they want.”
Councilwoman Jody Scott was absent.
The council began discussing the proposed resolution after a Malibu-based law firm claiming to represent some minority residents of Highland sent the city a letter threatening to sue if it does not change to a district election format under the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 — which allows minority groups in California to sue a government agency on the basis that their votes are lost in at-large elections.
City Council members have been elected at large, meaning all are voted into office by voters across the city, since it was incorporated in 1987.
The lawsuit was filed July 18 in San Bernardino Superior Court by a Lancaster-based law firm, R. Rex Parris Law Firm, on behalf of Lisa Garrett, a Latino resident of Highland, according to the suit.
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