In a sign of waning confidence in its legal position, the Pasadena City Council voted Tuesday to withhold payment from the law firm that’s trying to prove that the city’s redistricting plan doesn’t discriminate against Hispanics. The 7-1 vote, with Mayor Johnny Isbell absent, exposed the degree to which the mayor has unilaterally pressed for an appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that the plan was discriminatory. Council members complained they don’t fully understand the status of the lawsuit or of the work being done by Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta LLP of Austin.
Councilman Sammy Casados said he and other members have asked the mayor to put an update on the agenda, but he has declined.
… The mayor backed a redistricting plan that created six council district seats and two at-large positions, replacing an all-district seat system. A federal judge rejected the plan in January, saying it was deliberately aimed at diluting Hispanic voting strength to ward off an impending power shift in the increasingly Latino city. Isbell instructed the city’s attorneys to appeal.