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Latest Incorporation Complaint Cites Racial Discrimination




Carmel Pine Cone, Jan. 30, 2009

By CHRIS COUNTS

FOR THE first time, the subject of race has entered the
Carmel Valley incorporation debate.

A complaint dated Jan. 23 was sent to the U.S.
Department of Justice alleging that the proposed incorporation
of Carmel Valley violates the Voting Rights Act.

The letter was submitted by attorney John Ramirez, who
said he is representing the concerns of three Latino residents
of Monterey County, Maria Frias, David G. Serena and
Demetrio Pruneda.

While the complaint concedes there is nothing “sinister”
about the drive to incorporate Carmel Valley, he warns that
“any change that is adopted for the purpose of reducing a
minority group’s political power violates the Voting Rights
Act,” a 1965 federal mandate that outlawed discriminatory
voting practices against minorities.

“The purpose of the proposed incorporation is clear,”
reads the complaint. “It is designed to protect the political
power of a small number of relatively wealthy, white English
speaking residents at the expense of a rapidly growing Latino
population.”

According to the complaint, Monterey County’s population
is 51.5 percent Hispanic or Latino, while the proposed
town would be “approximately 93 percent” white.
The complaint also raises concerns about the proposed
town’s ability to meet its financial obligations and insists the
county’s taxpayers will end up paying for them.
Ramirez, an Orange County lawyer, recently filed two
lawsuits on behalf of opponents of Carmel Valley’s incorporation.
He was unavailable for comment.

Michael Stamp, an attorney representing the Carmel
Valley Forum — the group leading the drive to incorporate
Carmel Valley — said the desire to create a town has nothing
to do with race.

“The complaint doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Stamp said.
“It doesn’t reflect the reality of Monterey County.”
Proponents of incorporation have repeatedly charged that
opponents are trying to delay or prevent an election via
frivolous legal challenge.



Last Updated: Feb 01, 09

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