College of the Canyons governing board disclosed the settlement terms for a Voting Rights Act lawsuit Thursday.
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The college’s governing board issued a joint statement describing the terms.
Related article: COC Board Agrees To Settlement In Voting Rights Act Lawsuit
The terms of the deal were filed Tuesday confidentially at Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles, according to a court official.
“This is a fair settlement that addresses the concerns of Mr. Soliz and Ms. Sanchez-Fraser, and promotes greater participation in Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees elections,” said COC governing board President Michele Jenkins.
The settlement terms were approved by a unanimous vote of the District’s Board of Trustees at a June 11 special meeting. The agreement will be reduced to a stipulated judgment to be filed in court with Judge Rolf Treu, who will maintain jurisdiction to monitor implementation of the settlement terms.
As part of the settlement, the college district agreed to:
* Implement cumulative voting, instead of the numbered seat system currently in place.
* Take the necessary steps to move board elections to November of even-numbered years with the aim of increasing voter turnout.
* Recommend that the Board implement district-based elections following the next census if a majority Latino district can be drawn.
* Pay for board candidates’ Spanish-language ballot statements when they choose to pay to include an English-language statement in the ballot pamphlet.
* Conduct voter registration drives on campus and take steps to facilitate vote-by-mail balloting.
* Host prospective candidate information forums where those interested in running for a seat on the board can learn more about the election process and the role of board members.
* Propose the County allow it to offer polling places at both of its campuses with the intent that their centralized locations and large meeting and parking areas would make it more convenient for voters to cast ballots.
In addition, the District agreed to pay the plaintiffs’ attorney fees and costs of $850,000. Plaintiffs’ counsel agreed to substantially reduce the fees they would have requested from the Court if they prevailed at trial in recognition of the costs the District will incur in implementing the settlement terms, including its initiatives to increase voter and candidate participation.
The settlement terms were approved by a unanimous vote of the District’s Board of Trustees at a special meeting on June 11. The agreement will be reduced to a stipulated judgment to be filed in court with Judge Rolf Treu, who will maintain jurisdiction to monitor implementation of the settlement terms.
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Source: Santa Clarita News