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De la Torre's Exclusion Marks Sad Day for Santa Monica

January 28, 2021

Dear Editor,

I am not Hispanic. I have not previously paid a lot of attention to the Santa Monica Voting Rights Lawsuit. But I was stunned to see a member of City Council being stripped of his lawful right, and duty, to participate in a matter involving alleged discrimination against the Hispanic residents of Santa Monica ("Council Votes to Exclude de la Torre from Closed Sessions of Voting Rights Case," January 26, 2021).

It is not just Mr. de la Torre who has been calling Santa Monica at large elections racist. It is the opinion of the California Attorney General who has asked the California Supreme Court to put an end to it.

There is no dispute that the outcome of the lawsuit will have no financial impact on Mr. de la Torre or a member of his family. The sole justification for excluding him from participation was his strong and vocal opinions on the matter.

It is ironic that the Council's decision comes within a few days after the City began considering a Right to Return policy to address how in the late 1950s and early 1960s it used eminent domain to forcibly remove almost the entire black population from Santa Monica.

The City Council has raised racism to a whole new level against Hispanics. Yesterday was truly a sad day for our city.

Jeff Segal
Santa Monica

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