Glenda Yakel | No to Gerrymandering

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

As a Latina who has lived in Canyon Country for many decades, I am strongly opposed to the idea of creating racially and politically biased gerrymandered Latino Democrat-majority voting districts in the city of Santa Clarita.

The recent lawsuit filed by plaintiffs Michael Cruz, Sebastian Cazares and their attorney demands that the city of Santa Clarita create such districts, claiming that the current at-large voting system unfairly disadvantages Latino voters. However, this claim is unfounded and ignores the reality of our diverse community.

According to the 2020 Census, Santa Clarita is a diverse community with a significant Latino population. However, the city is also home to many other racial and ethnic groups, including Asians and African Americans, who are also entitled to fair representation. The plaintiffs’ demand for the creation of a racially and politically biased gerrymandered Latino Democrat majority voting district would not only disenfranchise these other “protected” voters but also exacerbate political isolation and victimhood.

It is important to note that Latino voters, of all political spectrums, are scattered throughout the entirety of the city of Santa Clarita, not just in small sections of the city, as the plaintiffs would like others to believe. In the 2022 election, an overwhelming number of Latinos, both Democrat and Republican, voted for our current City Council members, U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia, and former Assembly candidate Suzette Valladares. Despite losing the election, Valladares had an advantage of 7,911 votes in the Santa Clarita Valley over the opposing socialist progressive Democrat candidate. This is a testament to the effectiveness of at-large voting in promoting fair representation for all voters, which allows voters of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds to choose their representatives based on merit, not race or political affiliation. 

The problem that Mr. Cruz, Mr. Cazares and their attorney have with the election outcomes in Santa Clarita is that voters, regardless of their race or political affiliation, have overwhelmingly rejected socialist progressive Democrat candidates whom they favor.

The plaintiffs’ demand for racially and politically biased gerrymandered voting districts is not only unnecessary but also counterproductive. It would further entrench divisive identity politics and undermine the fundamental principles of democracy and equal representation in our city. Moreover, the plaintiffs’ claim of disenfranchisement ignores the many successful Latino candidates who have been elected under the current at-large system. In fact, our city has seen Latino candidates elected to the City Council, the U.S. Congress and the California Assembly, all under the current at-large system.

Creating racially and politically biased gerrymandered voting districts would do more harm than good. It would disenfranchise other “protected” voters, exacerbate political isolation and victimhood, and undermine the principles of democracy and equal representation. Instead of relying on gerrymandering to promote fair representation, we should focus on solutions that promote fairness, inclusivity and diversity in government, and ensure that all constituents are represented regardless of their race, ethnicity, or political affiliation.

In conclusion, I urge the city of Santa Clarita to reject the demand for gerrymandered Latino Democrat-majority districts, and instead work toward a political system that provides fair representation for all voters. Racially and politically biased districts risk marginalizing other minority groups and creating a divisive political climate. 

A truly democratic system is one that is inclusive, diverse, and fair to all its citizens.

Glenda Yakel

Canyon Country

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