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Excerpt:
The following is from the Nov. 8, 2007, edition of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Professor George Martinez of SMU's Dedman School of Law provided expert commentary for this story.


Lawsuit seeks single-member council districts

By PATRICK McGEE
Star-Telegram staff writer

IRVING -- A resident is suing Irving to force the city to adopt single-member districts to give Hispanics a better chance of winning seats on the City Council.

The plaintiff, Manuel Benavides, lost his bids for the Irving school board in 2000 and 2006.

His complaint, filed Tuesday with the U.S. District Court in Dallas, contends that he would be a good candidate for City Council but is shut out by "bloc voting by white voters." Benavides has never run for council. . .

George Martinez, a law professor at Southern Methodist University, said such lawsuits are common. He said the plaintiffs often have a good chance of winning because they do not have to prove discrimination.

"All they have to show is dilution or cancellation of the minority vote," he said. "It could turn out to be a battle of experts" on the witness stand.

Read the full story.

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