District 1 – Our Community
District 1 is one of the most diverse communities in Highland, and also the most socio-economically disadvantaged areas in the city.
Often confused for San Bernardino, Highland’s District 1 is located on the Western most end of the City of Highland.
Most residents in District 1 have a San Bernardino address due to the historical zip codes it shares with San Bernardino prior to when Highland became a city.
District 1 Demographics
Age - Under 35
Age - Over 35
History of District 1
In 2002, California Governor Gray Davis signed the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) of 2001, which established protections for voters in protected minority groups to elect candidates of their choice. According to the CYRA, if the protected groups, such as Latino voters, can prove “racially polarized” voting is occurring in the at-large system, they can pressure the city or school districts to change to a district-based system. [1,3]
In an effort to comply with the CVRA, and the threat of litigation, many cities and other districts had already made changes to their voting systems from at-large to ward/district-based systems.
However, some cities decided not to change. In July of 2014, Highland, which operated by an at-large voting system since its inception in 1987, became the first city in the state to be sued for violating the CVRA. 
The lawsuit argued that the city “imposed an at-large method of election in a manner that impairs the ability of Latinos to elect candidates of their choice and their ability to influence the outcome of an election, as a result of the dilution or the abridgement of the rights of Latino voters.” 
In response to the lawsuit, the city council attempted to remedy the issue and passed Ordinance No. 393, which would have implemented district-based elections if the initiative, Measure T, passed on the November 2014 ballot.  The measure, costing the city $30,000, was defeated with 43.01% in favor of district elections, and 56.99% opposed.
Even though the measure was defeated, the lawsuit proceeded. At the trial, the judge noted that “the electorate of the City of Highland rejected Ordiance No. 393, though a significant majority of Latino voters and majority of voters in the Western portion of the City of Highland, voted in favor of the district-based elections of Ordinance No. 393.” 
On April 6, 2016, the Court determined that the City of Highland had violated the CVRA and that the city council had been unlawfully elected, according to the CVRA, and mandated that the city implement district-based elections. 
This judgement against Highland, and the legal fees associated with trying this case in court, reverberated throughout the state that other voting districts decided to replace their at-large council systems to district-based representation without going to trial.
In November 2016, Jesse became the first Latino council member to ever be elected to the City Council in Highland. In addition, Anaeli Solano, Council Member for District 2, became the 1st Latina to be elected to the City Council.
1. Garrett v. City of Highland Decision – 06-APR-2016 [PDF]
2. SB Sun. (2014, July 24). Lawsuit prompts Highland council to place voting districts on ballot.
3. Redlands Daily Facts. (2014, Oct 12). City councils vulnerable to being forced to use districts.
4.Redlands Daily Facts (2015, November 10). Highland City Council supports cumulative voting system.