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HomeMy Public PortalAbout2021-11-09 Item 01 Transition to District-Based Elections for Councilmembers – Public Hearing No. 1CITY COUNCIL AGENDA REPORT r 0 ^ s \t0 CITY OF MILLBRAE 621 Magnolia Avenue Millbrae, CA 94030 SUBJECT: Transition to District-Based Elections Councilmembers - Public Hearing No. 1 ATTACHMENTS: NONE for Report No. Agenda Item: For Agenda of:November 9, 2021 Special Meeting Department:Administration Originator:Thomas C. Williams ^ity ^^ager Approved:/.Y Budget Action: D Yes S No Finance 4ew: ^/A REPORT TYPE: D ACTION S INFORMATIONAL ITEM TYPE: D CONSENT ^ PUBLIC HEARING D EXISTING BUSINESS D NEW BUSINESS RECOMMENDATION: The City Council receive a presentation from City staff and the City's consulting demographer, Redistricting Partners, regarding the process and criteria for establishing boundaries for district elections of the City Council, and take public input at this - the first of two required public hearings - regarding: a) the communities of interest within the City that should define the boundaries and composition of districts before any maps of any proposed district boundaries are drawn; and (b) whether the City should implement a directly elected mayor with four districts, or retain a City Council-selected rotational Mayor with five districts. BACKGROUND: On October 12, 2021, pursuant to Elections Code section 10010(e)(3)(A), the City Council adopted Resolution No. 21-70 declaring its intent to transition from an at-large system for election of City Councilmembers to one based on districts. The resolution also outlined specific steps to facilitate the transition. For more detail on the history leading to this decision, please see the Question/Answer Sheet on the City's website created specifically to educate and inform the public on this subject. Currently, voters across the City vote "at-large" for all five council members. A "by-district" election is one in which the City is divided into separate districts, each represented by one City Councilmember who resides in that district and is chosen by the that district's voters. The first by-district City Council election will occur in the November 2022 general municipal election, and the transition to district-based elections will be completed in the November 2024 general election.ANALYSIS: While Elections Code section 10010 provides the City only ninety (90) days after adopting a Resolution of Intent to complete the transition to district-based elections, the City obtained an extension of time until March 1, 2022 to complete this transition. Page 1 of 4 17990096.1 6749 1 Page 2 of 4 17990096.1 The City has engaged a demographer - Redistricting Partners - to support the transition effort to district- based elections. During this process, the City must: • Hold at least five public hearings to receive public input and to consider draft maps. The November 9 public hearing is the first of two required public hearing for the public to provide input on communities of interest and the composition of districts, as well as whether the City should implement a directly elected mayor with four districts or retain a City Council-selected mayor with five districts. The City will not consider any maps at this public hearing or the next one which has been scheduled for November 17, 2021. • After the two required hearings to gather public input, the Council has decided to hold a third public meeting on December 8, 2021 at 7:00 to ensure that interested members of the public have had ample opportunity to provide input on the issues related to this important transition. Following that, the City Council is planning to hold at least three additional hearings starting in January 2022 to consider and select a map with district boundaries based on the public input received regarding the City's communities of interest and the City Council's direction as to whether the transition will produce a directly elected mayor with four districts or retain a City Council-selected mayor with five districts. Redistricting Partners will produce draft maps for consideration by the City Council and the public before each meeting. Redistricting Partners will present those maps – explaining each map’s attributes and the differences between or among them. All maps that will be considered at a hearing will be available to the public at least one week in advance of that hearing. At this first hearing, the City’s demographer, Redistricting Partners, will make a presentation on the transition process for preparing district boundaries. The public will then be invited to ask questions about the process and to provide input on communities of interest in the City. This will allow the demographer to better understand the jurisdiction and allow the drawing of maps based on sound demographic and legal principles. The public is also invited to provide input as to whether the City should move to a directly- elected mayor with four districts or to maintain the current system where the five City Councilmembers select a mayor. The format for the second hearing on November 17, 2021 is the same. At the end of the second public hearing or the December 8, 2021 Special City Council Meeting with full consideration of the input offered by the public, the City Council will provide direction to City staff and the City’s demographer regarding the criteria to be considered, consistent with the required legal parameters, to create proposed district maps. The City Council will also be asked to provide direction on the number of districts to be created, as well as whether the City would like to establish a directly elected mayor. The City Council will then host subsequent public hearings for the public to consider the draft maps created by the City's demographer. In preparation for these hearings, maps created by the City's demographer will be posted on the City's website and otherwise available at least one week before the hearings. After taking public comment at these hearings, the City Council will provide further direction to the City's demographer as to how to change and/or finalize a proposed map. Given the fact that City Council elections are held on a staggered basis, the City Council will also consider the sequencing of future elections, that is, which districts will elect councilmembers in November 2022, and which will do so in November of 2024. Page 3 of 4 17990096.1 Final direction on district maps and election sequencing will be sought at a final public hearing and will be incorporated into an ordinance to be considered by the City Council. The following is a summary of the proposed public hearing schedule to complete this process: Proposed Schedule Date Time Description Purpose Tues. Nov. 9, 2021 5:30 – 7:00 pm Public Hearing First (1) meeting to solicit community input Wed. Nov. 17, 2021 7:00 – 8:30 pm Public Hearing Second (2) meeting to solicit community input Wed. Dec. 8, 2021 7:00 – 8:30 pm Special City Council Meeting Extra meeting to solicit community input Tues. Jan. 11, 2022 6:00 – 7:00 pm Public Hearing Third (3) meeting to review maps Tues. Jan. 25, 2022 6:00 – 7:00 pm Public Hearing Fourth (4) meeting to review maps Jan. 26 – Feb. 21, 2022 As needed Special City Council Meeting Extra meeting(s) to review maps Tues. Feb. 22, 2022 (Adoption Deadline March 1, 2022) 7:00 pm Regular City Council Meeting Public Hearing Fifth (5) & final meeting for ordinance adoption to establish the City’s district based elections District Formation Criteria In creating the district boundaries, the City must ensure compliance with the following criteria mandated by the CVRA and the Federal Voting Rights Act: • Each district must contain a nearly equal population; • The districting plan must be drawn in a manner that complies with the Federal Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution; and, • The districts must not be drawn with race as the predominant factor. Additionally, Election Code section 21601 requires cities to adopt districts using the following criteria to the extent practicable, which are set forth in order of priority: • Districts shall be geographically contiguous. • To the extent practicable, the geographic integrity of any local neighborhood or local community of interest must be respected and maintained. A “community of interest” is a population that shares common social or economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation. • District boundaries should be easily identifiable and understandable. To the extent practicable, districts shall be bounded by natural and artificial barriers, by streets, or by the boundaries of the jurisdiction. • To the extent practicable, and where it does not conflict with the preceding criteria, districts shall be drawn to encourage geographical compactness. Public Outreach In addition to the formal public hearing process, the City is implementing a robust effort to encourage participation and inclusivity as a part of the districting process. To this end, the City is doing the following: Page 4 of 4 17990096.1 • Hosting a webpage dedicated to districting, which includes an explanation of the districting process, relevant demographic data, the process for getting public input (in all legally required languages), a calendar of public hearings and/or workshop dates, the notice and agenda for each hearing/workshop, audio/video records of the hearings/workshops, a copy of the draft map(s) considered, and a copy of the final adopted map; and, • Providing the above referenced information to good government, civic engagement, and community groups that are active in the locality, including those active with minority and non- English speaking communities. The City is also providing multiple ways for the public to submit feedback through in-person and online formats such as interactive map drawing and fillable Communities of Interest forms. Materials are being provided in English, Spanish, and Mandarin. Additional information about this process and opportunities for the public to provide feedback is available at https://www.ci.millbrae.ca.us/departments-services/city-clerk/district-elections. FISCAL IMPACT: The City Council appropriated $175,000 to underwrite costs associated with undertaking and completing the transition to District-based elections for councilmembers. COUNCIL ACTION: Staff recommends that the City Council receive the informational report on the City’s transition to district-based elections.