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SHD minority zone D seat election delayed until 2020

Original post made by Jack Hickey, Woodside: Emerald Hills, on Feb 9, 2018

The Sequoia Healthcare District Board of Directors, threatened in August 2017 by a lawsuit by MeloSarsfield based upon the California Voting Rights Act, adopted a resolution of intent to move from at-large Board elections to zone elections (beginning with the November 2018 election, if feasible). They voted on December 10, 2017 to adopt the Zone map(Zones A thru E) to be used in the Nov. 2018 election. In this past Wednesday’s meeting, the Board voted to delay the election in minority Zone D(includes North Fairoaks & downtown RWC) until 2020. I argued against the delay.

By building up a rationale for designating the election cycle in minority zone D(includes North Fairoaks & downtown RWC) as Presidential(2020) rather than Gubernatorial(2018) the Sequoia Healthcare District sought to create an image of diligent compliance with the California Voting Rights Act. (The Presidential cycle has a significantly higher minority voter turnout) That image was tarnished when they concocted an interpretation of the law which ostensibly prevented the district from holding an election for a 2 year seat for minority Zone D(includes North Fairoaks & downtown RWC) in 2018. The end result? Minority Zone D will have no representation until 2020. But, Zone A will have two directors until 2020, and Art Faro won’t have to move into Zone D to run for re-election. I question the motive of those who precipitated this result.

See also: Web Link

Comments (7)

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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 1, 2018 at 12:04 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.


I have found a Code section which could be interpreted to permit a 2018 election in Zone D. I have sent a request to the Attorney General for an Opinion.

Readers opinions would be most appreciated.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jack HickeySHD
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2018 11:15 AM
To: Alex Padilla
Cc: Mark Hudak ; Jerry Hill ; Kevin Mullin ; Warren Slocum ; Diana Izaguirre ; Mark Church
Subject: Fw: Implementing Zone elections

Secretary Padilla, I have been an elected Director of the Sequoia Healthcare
District since 2002. I seek your opinion in an urgent, election related matter.

My District is proceeding with a November 2018 election which incorporates
Zones to replace at-large elections.Of the 5 Zones created, Zone D, the minority Zone has no sitting Director.

To take advantage of the higher minority voter turnout, the District has
placed Zone D on the Presidential election cycle, with it's first election
in 2020. District Counsel has concluded that state law does not permit a 2
year election for Zone D in 2018.

Questions: In your Opinion, would the Code section appended below support
an interpretation that there is an unexpired term to be filled in minority
Zone D making such an election in 2018 permissible, and would that not best
support the purpose of the California Voting Rights Act?

Jack Hickey
Phone #
Address

ELECTIONS CODE – ELEC DIVISION 10. LOCAL, SPECIAL, VACANCY, AND
CONSOLIDATED ELECTIONS [10000 - 10735]
( Division 10 enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2. )
PART 4. UNIFORM DISTRICT ELECTION LAW [10500 - 10556]( Part 4 enacted by
Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2. )

10509.

On the 125th day prior to the day fixed for the general district election,
the secretary shall deliver a notice to the county elections official. The
notice shall bear the secretary’s signature and the district seal and shall
also contain both of the following:

(a) The elective offices of the district to be filled at the next general
district election, specifying which offices, if any, are for the balance of
an unexpired term.

(b) Whether the district or the candidate is to pay for the publication of a
statement of qualifications pursuant to Section 13307.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 454, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2003.)


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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 15, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

That should have been: "I have sent a request to the Secretary of State for an Opinion.

The following rationale for the board's action was provided at the February meeting of the Board by CEO, Pamela Kurtzman and district counsel Mark Hudak :

BACKGROUND
On September 20, 2017, the Board adopted a resolution to implement zone elections
starting with the November 2018 election. The Board did so to be as responsive a body as possible, to encourage the fullest voter participation by all the District's residents in elections of Board members, to represent most effectively the interests and wishes of the District's residents, and to ensure that the community has confidence in the Board. The resolution recognizes that three zones will be up for election in 2018 and the other two in 2020, given the five-member Board's four-year staggered terms. The resolution notes that, in deciding the sequence of implementing the zone elections, the Board will give special consideration to the purposes of the California Voting Rights Act.
In December, the Board considered three different maps showing potential geographic
zones, designated as Zones A, B, C, D, and E. Zone D has the largest percentage of minority population. The Board chose Map 3 because it provided the best opportunity for minority participation. The Board did not determine which of the five zones would be up for election in 2018. Paul Mitchell, of Redistricting Partners, and District staff provided information to the Board showing that minority voter turnout is usually highest in presidential election years (those divisible by four) compared to other years. This is particularly true in Zone D, where local data, also provided by Mr. Mitchell, show a 47% higher Latino voter turnout in 2016, a presidential election year, compared to 2014, a non presidential election year. This likely increases the chances that minority voters may effectively exercise their votes, consistent with the aims of the California Voting Rights Act. Thus, there is a choice between having Zone D elect its director sooner in 2018, or later in 2020 – a presidential election year likely to have higher turnout.

I attempted to get more information regarding the legal opinion which led to the above rationale. Mark Hudak's response was: "If the Board President thinks that a formal legal memo is necessary after the fact, she can direct me or Mr. Manolius to prepare one."(Mr. Manolius was hired as outside counsel for the district)

I made repeated requests to Board President Kane to direct counsel to provide such a memo at least as detailed as this one in 2012: Web Link. President Kane has yet to do so.

I then made a CPRA request to obtain communications which led to the decision of the board. Here is the district's response from Mark Hudak:
Web Link

Following is an e-mail exchange I had with the CEO:

Pamela, have there been any communications between the district and Melo & Sarsfield? E.G notification of relevant board meetings, and board decisions regarding Zone elections? If so, may I have copies?

Hi Jack. I learned from Mark that all communications with Sarsfield have been through outside counsel so there are no communications directly between the District and Sarsfield.

Pamela, pursuant to the California Public Records Act I hereby request copies of all communications made by outside counsel on behalf of the district.

Jack, I will remind you of the letter sent to you by Mr. Hudak dated March 5, 2018. Communications between a public agency and outside litigation counsel are within the attorney-client privilege and are therefore exempted from the Public Records Act. Therefore, I will not provide you this information.

After further communications with Mark Hudak, he said: "Mr. Hickey, the action taken by the Board regarding the implementation of zone elections is final, so there is no reason to continue debating it or to respond to hypothetical situations. Continuing these emails is a waste of District resources in violation of Policy 2.6. I do not intend to respond further on this topic.

It is my opinion, that ANY registered voter in Zone D has standing to file an action seeking a writ-of-mandate ordering the district to hold an election for a 2-year seat in Zone D in November 2018, with succeeding elections for 4 year seats, on the Presidential cycle.

Here is my analysis of the relevant code sections in support of a writ-of-mandate.
Web Link

I ask any concerned voters to demand that the district call an election for minority Zone D in November 2018. Here is a map of the district provided to the board at the February meeting: Web Link

The district has yet to provide unambiguous boundaries for the Zones, despite my many requests.




Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 15, 2018 at 2:48 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Was keeping Art Faro on the board the real reason why the board chose to delay the election in Zone D? This allowed Art to run for a 4-year seat in Zone A which already has a sitting Director with 2 years remaining in her term.

Option 2 presented to the board provides a clue to understanding their motive:

Option 2 – Include Zone D in the 2018 Districts
In this option, Zone D would elect a director in 2018, together with two of Zones A, C and E. The remaining zone would elect its director in 2020, along with Zone B.
In this option, Zone D would elect a director sooner and Zone D will be locked into
electing its directors in nonpresidential years for the foreseeable future, when turnout generally is lower.

In option 2, one of Zones A, C, and E will not elect its director in 2018, meaning one sitting director will not be able to run for re-election. It could be that operational, administrative, or other reasons justify the choice of one zone for deferral to 2020 over another. It is up to the Board to decide which of the 3 zones would not elect a director by a majority vote or if preferred by the board, a drawing of straws could be used to make the decision of which zone would not be up for election in 2018.

If persuaded to choose Option 2, the majority on the board could have decided that for operational, administrative, or other reasons, Art Faro was more valuable to the district than Jack Hickey, and decided not to hold an election in Hickey's Zone C.




Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 26, 2018 at 11:16 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

The new district boundaries for the 5 zones are contained in a zipped folder here: xshcd.com/Sequoia%20Healthcare%20Plan%203%20fiinal%20submission.zip

This file, provided by the district to County Elections, was e-mailed to me by CEO Pamela Kurtzman on 3/19/2018.

I have successfully extracted a KML file and imported it into Google Earth. It unambiguously shows homes in each zone. I have requested that it be integrated into the County’s Property Maps Portal here: Web Link
This portal allows a precinct overlay to be added to the map.


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 26, 2018 at 11:38 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Try this link: Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 4, 2018 at 9:56 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Please voice your outrage with the Sequoia Healthcare District Board of Director's decision by attending today's meeting.

525 Veteran's Blvd. Redwood City
4:30 P.M.

If you can not attend, send a message to CEO, Pamela Kurtzman, for distribution to the Board Members. PKurtzman@SequoiaHealthcareDistrict.com


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 6, 2018 at 1:20 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

"In option 2, one of Zones A, C, and E will not elect its director in 2018, meaning one sitting director will not be able to run for re-election. It could be that operational, administrative, or other reasons justify the choice of one zone for deferral to 2020 over another. It is up to the Board to decide which of the 3 zones would not elect a director by a majority vote or if preferred by the board, a drawing of straws could be used to make the decision of which zone would not be up for election in 2018.

If persuaded to choose Option 2, the majority on the board could have decided that for operational, administrative, or other reasons, Art Faro was more valuable to the district than Jack Hickey, and decided not to hold an election in Hickey's Zone C."

That would have left Zone C without a Director until 2020! That's ludicrous!


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