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No on Districts in Glendale

In 2015, I wrote the following ballot statement against a proposal to institute districts for the city of Glendale City Council. At that time voters overwhelmingly defeated the proposal.
For more than 100 years, like half of all American cities, Glendale has elected our Council “at large.” It’s easy, allows anyone the opportunity to run and makes elected officials responsible to all voters. Politicians respond to all issues citywide, not just those in their neighborhood.
We have no problem currently, why change? Litigious lawyers threatened suit under laws relating to minority representation, so the Council is spending $200,000 to place this misguided proposal before us.
The reality is there are no disenfranchised minority groups in Glendale. Rather the data shows Glendale is diverse and well represented by the citizens who choose to run for elected office. Districts are a bad idea for Glendale.

  • Politicians focused only on their district will lack an overall view of the entire community.
  • District Council members are not accountable to the entire electorate, only to the select voters in their small area.
  • At Large Council members more closely monitor financial details and spend fewer tax dollars overall than district representatives. Districts will require additional staff expenses and will likely lead to tax increases.
  • Quality candidates are discouraged from running if a well-entrenched politician is seated in their district. The Community suffers as a result.
  • Districts with little voter participation (some areas of the city have less than 5% of registered voters actually voting) will enable small groups to have oversized voices on the Council.
  • If your District Council member is unresponsive to your plight, you have no other place to turn; currently there are five Council members to address.
  • Districts lead to gerrymandering with Councils drawing district boundaries that benefit their reelection, not the interests of the entire city.
    Glendale needs to focus on pulling our community together, not apart as this measure will certainly do.
    In the upcoming 2024 March election two Council candidates have expressed support for districts in Glendale. Five others have voiced opposition to this unneeded change.
    I urge voters to not support Ardy Kassakhian or Karen Kwak, since if elected, they will work to bring the divisiveness of districts to our community. With a simple majority, the Council could institute districts regardless of the will of the voters and this must not be allowed to happen.
    Make it clear: No districts in Glendale.

    Brian Ellis

    First published in the February 10 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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