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HomeMy Public PortalAbout2021-12-08 Item 04 Transition to District-Based Elections for CouncilmembersAmendment- 12/7/21 Agenda Item changed from #4 to #3 #3___ Page 2 of 4 17990096.1 direction to the demographer on the number and composition of Council districts (5 Council districts and a rotating Mayor or 4 Council districts and an At Large Mayor) within the City to commence with drawing of the proposed district maps. Currently, voters across the City vote "at-large" for all five Councilmembers. 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. 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 December 8, 2021 public hearing is the third meeting going above and beyond the required two public hearings for the purpose of obtaining additional public input regarding preparation of boundaries that either implement a directly elected Mayor with four City Council districts or retain a City Council-selected Mayor with five City Council districts. The City has not considered any maps at this or either of the first two public hearings held on November 9, 2021 and November 17, 2021 and will not produce any maps until this direction is received. • After direction is provided by City Council, Redistricting Partners will produce draft maps for consideration by the City Council and the public for initial review on January 11, 2022. These maps must be published by law seven (7) days prior to the meeting (January 4, 2022). The City has already been soliciting input from the community through distribution of Community of Interest forms that will be shared with Redistricting Partners for boundary map preparation as well. Redistricting Partners will present the first draft maps at the January 11, 2022 meeting and explain each map’s attributes and the differences between them. All maps, including those received by the public, will be considered at the meeting and be available to the public seven (7) in advance of that hearing as well. • A meeting is also scheduled for January 25 to review boundary maps and solicit additional community feedback and direction with a final hearing for map adoption scheduled for February 22, 2022. Please refer to following proposed schedule listed below for additional public outreach and public input on drawing proposed City Council District boundary maps. At this subject meeting, 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 (4) Council districts or to maintain the current system where the five City Councilmembers select a Mayor. Page 3 of 4 17990096.1 The City’s schedule includes additional 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 be 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. 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 scheduled for Feburary 22, 2021. 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 pm Public Hearing First (1) meeting to solicit community input Wed. Nov. 17, 2021 7:00 pm Public Hearing Second (2) meeting to solicit community input Sat. Dec. 4, 2021 10 am Community Workshop Extra meeting to solicit community input Wed. Dec. 8, 2021 7:00 pm Special City Council Meeting Extra meeting to solicit community input and City Council’s adoption to establish either 4 districts with at-large Mayor or 5 districts with rotating Mayor. Sat. Dec 18, 2021 10 am Community Workshop Extra meeting to solicit community input Tues. Jan. 11, 2022 6:00 pm Public Hearing Third (3) meeting to review maps Tues. Jan. 25, 2022 6:00 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 ( no more than a 10% variance but best practices are no more than a 5% population deviation.); • 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. Page 4 of 4 17990096.1 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: •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 ConfigureMillbrae.org. 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: Provide City staff direction on the number of districts to be created, as well as whether the City would like to establish a directly elected mayor or have a rotational mayor. Page 1 of 2 18055467.1 CITY OF MILLBRAE, COUNTY OF SAN MATEO STATE OF CALIFORNIA *** RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MILLBRAE TO ESTABLISH A DISTRICT-BASED ELECTIONS SYSTEM FOR CITY COUNCILMEMBERS WITH FOUR DISTRICTS AND A DIRECTLY ELECTED MAYOR PURSUANT TO ELECTIONS CODE SECTION 10010 AND GOVERNMENT CODE SECTIONS 34871(c) AND 34886 WHEREAS, the City of Millbrae ("the City") operates as a General Law City pursuant to Government Code section 34000 et seq.; and WHEREAS, the City Council is charged with managing the City's affairs, making final decisions on all important City matters, and adopting ordinances and resolutions necessary for efficient governmental operations; and WHEREAS, members of the City Council are currently elected in “at-large” elections, in which each City Councilmember is elected by the registered voters of the entire City and the City Council selects the City's mayor; and WHEREAS, the City Council desires to be as responsive a body as possible to the needs of the City's residents, and to ensure to the greatest extent possible that its councilmembers represent the interests and wishes of all residents of the City, and that the residents have confidence that the City Council and Mayor continue to represent the interests and wishes of the City's constituents; and WHEREAS, voter participation in the election process for City Councilmembers and the City's mayor is of the utmost importance, and the City Council further desires to encourage the fullest voter participation in elections of City Council members and the City's mayor; and WHEREAS, on October 12, 2021, in response to a March 5, 2021 letter received from attorney Kevin Shenkman asserting that the City’s at-large City Councilmember electoral system violates the California Voting Rights Act (“CVRA”), the City passed a Resolution of Intent to transition from at-large to district-based elections for the election of City Councilmembers under Elections Code section 10010; and WHEREAS, the California Legislature has provided a procedure whereby a jurisdiction may transition to a district-based election system under Elections Code section 10010; and WHEREAS, more specifically, Government Code section 34886 authorizes the legislative body of a city by ordinance and without the requirement of a vote of the electors of the city to change its method of election from "at-large" to "district-based" in furtherance of the purpose of the CVRA; and WHEREAS, after consideration of written and oral public comments, including two noticed public hearings, and public input from a special website created by the City to address Attachment 1 Page 2 of 2 18055467.1 the issue of transitioning to a district based election system, and following substantial deliberations, the City Council has determined that the public interest would be best served by transitioning to a district-based electoral system with four districts and a directly elected mayor; and WHEREAS, Government Code section 34871(c) provides for the election of members of the legislative body of a city by four districts with a directly elected mayor and authorizes the City Council to make such a determination. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City of Council of the City of Millbrae as follows: 1.To establish four districts which (a) are in compliance with one person, one vote requirements, (b) are intended to ensure the opportunity of the City's protected minority groups with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise, and (c) include consideration of topography, geography, cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity and compactness of territory, non-disturbance to existing precincts for purposes of implementation, as well as maintaining vital communities of interest; 2.And in addition to the four districts, to have a directly elected at-large mayor. 3.To establish in the City's electoral system that the City Council members shall serve a [two or four] year term; and 4.To establish in the City's electoral system that the City's directly elected at-large mayor shall serve a [two or four] year term. AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council directs the City Manager and the City Attorney to take all necessary steps to facilitate the implementation of district-based elections with four districts and a directly elected mayor. REGULARLY PASSED and adopted at a special meeting held on December 8, 2021. Mayor ATTEST: City Clerk Page 1 of 2 18055495.1 CITY OF MILLBRAE, COUNTY OF SAN MATEO STATE OF CALIFORNIA RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MILLBRAE TO ESTABLISH A DISTRICT-BASED ELECTIONS SYSTEM FOR CITY COUNCILMEMBERS WITH FIVE DISTRICTS AND A CITY COUNCIL-SELECTED MAYOR PURSUANT TO ELECTIONS CODE SECTION 10010 WHEREAS, the City of Millbrae ("the City") operates as a General Law City pursuant to Government Code section 34000 et seq.; and WHEREAS, the City Council is charged with managing the City's affairs, making final decisions on all important City matters, and adopting ordinances and resolutions necessary for efficient governmental operations; and WHEREAS, members of the City Council are currently elected in “at-large” elections, in which each City Councilmember is elected by the registered voters of the entire City and the City Council selects the City's mayor; and WHEREAS, the City Council desires to be as responsive a body as possible to the needs of the City's residents; and to ensure to the greatest extent possible that its councilmembers represent the interests and wishes of all residents of the City, and that the residents have confidence that the City Council and Mayor continue to represent the interests and wishes of the City's constituents; and WHEREAS, voter participation in the election process for City Councilmembers is of the utmost importance, and the City Council desires to encourage the fullest voter participation in elections of City Council members; and WHEREAS, on October 12, 2021, in response to a March 5, 2021 letter received from attorney Kevin Shenkman asserting that the City’s at-large City Councilmember electoral system violates the California Voting Rights Act (“CVRA”), the City passed a Resolution of Intent to transition from at-large to district-based elections for the election of City Councilmembers under Elections Code section 10010; and WHEREAS, the California Legislature has provided a procedure whereby a jurisdiction may transition to a district-based election system under Elections Code section 10010; and WHEREAS, in considering how to structure the transition as between five districts or four districts with an at large directly elected mayor, the City Council has determined that the public interest would be best served by transitioning to a district-based electoral system with five districts and retaining the current and historical practice of the City Council selecting the mayor from one of the five council district representatives. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City of Council of the City of Millbrae, California as follows: Attachment 2 Page 2 of 2 18055495.1 1.To establish five districts which: (a) are in compliance with one person, one vote requirements; (b) are intended to ensure the opportunity of the City's protected minority groups with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise; and (c) include consideration of topography, geography, cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity and compactness of territory, non-disturbance to existing precincts for purposes of implementation, as well as maintaining vital communities of interest; and 2.To establish in the City's electoral system that the City Council members shall serve a [two or four] year term; and 3.To retain the City Council's historical practice of selecting the mayor from one of the five council district representatives. AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council directs the City Manager and the City Attorney to take all necessary steps to facilitate the implementation of district-based elections with five districts. REGULARLY PASSED and adopted at a special meeting held on December 8, 2021. Mayor ATTEST: City Clerk