Ontario City Hall
6:54 P.M. PST
D’ANDRE: Members of City Council, Mayor, and residents of the city of Ontario. Today I come before you as a resident of the city of Ontario to put on record my opposition to the city council’s resolution to switch to district voting. Districting will cripple our councils ability to work as a team.
There are many parts of our city that still need work. And the only way that work can be done is if the council is allowed to work COLLECTIVELY as one team to bring all the resources available to the table.
As you know, there are some areas of our city that do not yet have the economic engines needed to thrive. These areas are mostly comprised of people whose wages are stagnant because they are retired, unskilled for today’s economy, or having to travel far outside our city boundaries for the employment opportunities our city is working to bring in.
As someone who grew up in South Central Los Angeles I know Districting has never benefited the minority. Look around. In modern U.S. history, districts that are mostly comprised of minorities are often labeled as poor, challenged, and “the ghetto side of town”.
In world history, districts were used by the wealthy and powerful to separate themselves and their resources from those who they want to marginalize. Ironically, these are often the same people who say to minorities THEY must lift themselves up by the bootstraps.
But as Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Its’ alright to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is a cruel jest to say to a BOOTLESS man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.” and the irony of it all is… that the lawyer demanding change neither lives in Ontario nor cares about Ontario’s issues.
But isn’t that always the case? The privileged imposing their will on a people without stopping to realize the people never asked for it.
And anyone who feels that changing the rules will somehow make it easier to win an election; Who organizes their calendar around opportunities to get elected; who uses lawyers to get their way when the Ontario voters say, “No”; who only shows up during election season and disappears when our city is in greatest need of leadership… has already lost the election. Better yet, Ontario has lost… Because they lost sight of the true reason for running. It is to serve. Not to burden a people with vendettas and scores to settle because they can’t figure out how to compromise or win the hearts and minds of every Ontario resident in an open election.
We know Ontario is not perfect. But it is progressing in ways cities with Districts are not. It is my hope that when this resolution takes effect, the council continues to work passionately and unrelentingly TOGETHER on the agenda set by the people. Districts can either be used constructively or destructively. Only time will tell whether the problems of Districts will work itself out.
To the residents of Ontario, you need to know that when decisions are being made about how to distribute funding among the districts, just as it was said in the popular movie, Hunger Games, “May the odds be ever in your favor” because council members now must fight among each other to do the work you elected them to do.
6:58 P.M. PST