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<br /> <br />DATE: August 9, 2017 <br /> <br />TO: Honorable Mayor and City Council <br /> <br />FROM: Stephen P. Deitsch, City Attorney <br /> <br />SUBJECT: PUBLIC HEARING TO RECEIVE PUBLIC COMMENTS ON TRANSITION <br />TO DISTRICT BASED ELECTIONS <br /> Recommendation: Conduct a public hearing to receive public input <br />regarding the composition of the districts and provide direction on <br />the number of draft maps and parameters to be considered <br /> <br />SUMMARY <br /> <br />On August 1, 2017, the City Council held its first public hearing regarding the process of <br />transitioning to district based elections. This action was in response to threatened <br />litigation regarding alleged non-compliance with the California Voting Rights Act <br />(“CVRA”), and in furtherance of the City Council’s adopted resolution of intention to <br />transition from at-large to district-based elections. Under Assembly Bill (“AB”) 350, the <br />City now has 90 days to complete the transition process, during which time the public <br />will have at least five opportunities to comment on the proposal and the draft maps that <br />are created for the potential voting districts. This is the second such opportunity. <br /> <br />It is recommended that the City Council conduct a public hearing to receive input <br />regarding the composition of the potential voting districts, provide direction on the <br />number of draft maps and parameters to be considered, and request staff set a public <br />hearing at some point in early September 2017, to review draft district maps and obtain <br />further input. <br /> <br />BACKGROUND <br /> <br />In 2003, the CVRA became law. The CVRA, in an attempt to prevent the <br />disenfranchisement of protected classes of persons, establishes a low bar for attorneys <br />seeking to force cities to convert from at-large to by-district elections. <br /> <br />Numerous public agencies in California have been sued under the CVRA. Plaintiffs <br />challenging at-large elections of legislative bodies such as city councils have typically <br />prevailed in litigation (the City Attorney is unaware of any public entity prevailing). <br /> <br />