clear
Thursday September 3rd, 2015 5:31PM

GALEO board OKs plan to sue city

By Ken Stanford Reporter
Related Articles
ATLANTA - The board of directors of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) has agreed to sue the city of Gainesville over its at-large voting system.

Executive Director Jerry Gonzalez confirmed the move Tuesday night.

GALEO has, for several months, been threatening to take the city to court, saying at-large voting violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in that it discriminates against the city's many Hispanic residents.

The city has steadfastly maintained that the system is not discriminatory.

Just recently, at a city council meeting, Mayor Danny Dunagan read a two-page statement strongly denying GALEO's allegations and emphasized that the at-large system of voting "is right for Gainesville." (See earlier story. Link first below.)

Central to the city's position was previous litigation brought originally in 1996, claiming that the at-large method of voting was biased against minority populations in Gainesville. The statement pointed out that U.S. District Court Judge William C. O'Kelley ruled in the 1996 case that "the city of Gainesville's at-large system was not maintained for discriminatory purposes and no evidence of racial bias in the voting community was shown."

GALEO battled the City in August 2011, claiming Hispanic voter numbers were growing but the at-large system diluted voting strength; city council members stuck by at-large voting. At-large means voters city wide choose the elected officials. Wards One and Four are up for election in November and for the first time so is the post of mayor.

"Everybody in the City will get the vote for those wards regardless of the fact that they may not live on those wards," Gonzalez said at a community meeting held in Gainesville April 12 to discuss the matter. (See earlier story. Second link below.). "That is the big rub that we have because there are three Latino majority wards in the City of Gainesville, so we think that an at large voting process dilutes those particular voters. It's unfair, it's unrepresentative."

Gonzalez said then he still had hopes still the City would choose to work with GALEO, and avoid a costly court battle.

"Litigation could cost the City upwards of maybe $1-million," Gonzalez said at the time. "I don't think the city taxpayers should be put through that unnecessary expense simply because the City Council is stubborn and not willing to look at the facts as we have them."

Gonzalez believes Latinos are not participating as voters because at-large voting discriminates against them, and suppresses and discourages them.

In confirming Tuesday night that his board has given the green light for the suit, Gonzalez said "we will move forward pending raising of funds to cover some non-legal costs."
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Dems, GOP seek to define issue for 2014 elections
Ten months to next year's midterm elections, Democrats are determined to make Congress' slim production of fewer than 60 laws and plenty of incompletes - on immigration, gun control, tax reform and basic spending bills - a defining issue, heaping much of the blame on the GOP-led House for obstructing President Barack Obama's second-term agenda.
1:38PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
Mexican sales tax hike seen as boon on US border
Mexican license plates are common in parking lots of shopping malls in U.S. border cities. They will be even more familiar after Mexico raises its federal sales tax in border regions to match the rest of the country, say merchants and shoppers.
11:06AM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
Settlement reached for one Hall Co. firefighter injured in 2014 training accident
One of the Hall County firefighters injured in a training accident in July 2014 has reached a settlement with Sutphen Corporation, the company who manufactured the ladder truck that malfunctioned in the accident.
2:52PM ( 2 hours ago )
Ga. students perform better on SAT, national average drops
The Georgia Department of Education (DOE) reported Thursday that Georgia students’ SAT scores for 2015 increased five points, even as the national average dropped seven points.
By AccessWDUN Staff
2:05PM ( 3 hours ago )
Robbery suspects arrested following intensive search
Hall County authorities said an intensive search Tuesday led to two suspects in an August 23 armed robbery in Lula.
1:07PM ( 4 hours ago )
Winder motorist killed in S. Hall wreck involving deer
Authorities have released the name of the man who died Thursday morning in a traffic accident involving a deer on Old Flowery Branch Road in Hall County.
11:42AM ( 5 hours ago )
Gainesville gang member arrested with $95K worth of meth
A Gainesville man is behind bars after authorities confiscated $95,200 worth of methamphetamine and a loaded semi-automatic pistol during a traffic stop.
11:02AM ( 6 hours ago )