MALDEF STATEMENT ON SETTLEMENT IN CHALLENGE TO PASADENA, TX ELECTION SYSTEM

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(Pasadena, TX) - Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner and MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) announced today that the City and plaintiffs have reached a settlement of the litigation in Patino v. City of Pasadena, which was a challenge to Pasadena’s election system that was adopted through a charter amendment approved in a 2013 election.



On behalf of several plaintiffs, MALDEF sued Pasadena in November 2014, after city officials adopted a redistricting plan that created a mixed system of at-large seats and single member districts. In January 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Lee Rosenthal ruled that the city’s election system violates the Voting Rights Act. The City appealed that ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.



Under the settlement, Pasadena will drop its appeal. Additionally, the City will pay the plaintiffs’ attorney fees, as required by federal law.



Please attribute the following statement on the settlement to Nina Perales, MALDEF vice president of litigation:



The settlement ensures that Pasadena will have an election system that is fair for all of its voters. After years of litigation, we appreciate the efforts of Mayor Wagner, elected this year, to reach a resolution of the case and to bring finality and stability to future Pasadena elections.



Please attribute the following statement on the settlement to Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner, who took office in July of this year:



“While the city disagrees with the district court’s conclusions and believes that the challenged election system had neither the intent nor the effect of discriminating, it is time to put this three years of litigation behind us. I think settling the suit is good for all the people of Pasadena and will help us achieve the goal of uniting all of our citizens. It is and will be the city’s goal to make it possible for all its citizens to participate fully in the democratic process and in the governance of the city. While we were adversaries in the courtroom, I appreciate the plaintiffs’ and MALDEF’s efforts to work with us to get to an agreed resolution.”



Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org.

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