The process of determining City districts for the 2018 elections is nearing the end with the last public meeting of the Advisory Districting Committee
set for Thursday, February 22, 2018, at 7:15 p.m. at the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center, Oak Room, 700 Alma St. The Committee will be reviewing its list of the remaining four semi-final maps.
(Note: These are currently being prepared by the demographers and will be released with the meeting agenda on Monday, February 19.)
Throughout the process, over 35 maps were submitted
with different options for how best to represent the interests of the city’s residents and businesses. At the end of next week’s meeting, it will be down to two.
As directed by the City Council, the Advisory Districting Committee will recommend two options for consideration at the March 13, 2018, City Council public hearing:
- A recommendation for dividing the City into five voting districts, and
- A recommendation for dividing the City into six voting districts (with an at-large elected mayor).
Each submitted districting map shall also contain an election sequencing recommendation. Election sequencing shall take into account the City’s practice of staggering elections every two years and in accordance with State law shall not cut short any existing City Councilmember’s term.
The Committee has met seven times in five weeks. During the process, the Committee has relied on criteria outlined in the City Council resolution and federal and state voting rights laws. In addition, the Committee recognized early on that there are major issues involved in the districting process, including how to keep the Belle Haven neighborhood together, how best to represent the various interests among those near the El Camino Real corridor and in downtown along Santa Cruz Avenue, and what to do about district boundaries that may have an effect on incumbents previously elected by the city’s voters.
The Committee chose to address these concerns in accordance with additional criteria developed after public input. These criteria were split into primary and secondary concerns.
Primary criteria included:
- Compliance with Federal and State voting rights acts (FVRA and CVRA)
- Respect for neighborhoods
- “Reasonably balanced” population – to the extent possible minimizing population differences among districts, yet recognizing it may cause carve outs or boundary shifts
- “Eyeball test” (boundaries should make logical sense to the average voter)
Secondary criteria included:
- School attendance areas
- Consideration for common neighborhood issues
- Use of obvious boundaries (e.g. major roads)
- Possible consideration of how district boundaries affect the ability of incumbents/other likely candidates to run for office
- Look at other relevant “communities of interest”
- Owner vs. renter or single-family vs. multifamily, if possible
At the meeting on February 22, the Committee will finalize its recommendations and forward them to the City Clerk for publishing. The first of two City Council public hearings is scheduled for Tuesday, March 13, 2018, at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 701 Laurel St.