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Public Hearing – Transition to By-District Elections <br />August 9, 2017 <br />Page 2 of 6 <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />Several cities, school districts, and hospital districts have settled with challengers, either <br />prior to or in the midst of litigation brought pursuant to the CVRA. <br /> <br />Cities and other public entities have had a statutory obligation to reimburse successful <br />challengers for their attorneys’ fees pursuant to the CVRA. For example, the City of <br />Palmdale incurred $4.7 million in legal fees in unsuccessfully defending in court its at- <br />large city council election system, and the Cities of Santa Barbara, Whittier, Anaheim, <br />and Modesto incurred legal fees of between $600,000 and $3 million in settling such <br />challenges after adopting by-district elections. <br /> <br />At least 55 California cities have transitioned, or are in the process of transitioning, from <br />at-large to by-district elections as a result of the CVRA. In addition, there are at least <br />146 school districts, 27 community college districts, and eight water or other special <br />districts which have done or are doing so under the CVRA. <br /> <br />Last year, the California legislature adopted AB 350 amending Elections Code Section <br />10010 to cap the attorneys’ fees a prospective plaintiff may recover if a public agency <br />adopts a resolution of intention to change to a by-district system of elections within 45 <br />days after the receipt of a letter from that prospective plaintiff alleging a CVRA violation. <br /> <br />On June 6, 2017, the City received a letter from Kevin Shenkman, Esq., alleging that <br />the City’s at-large City Council election system diluted the ability of certain protected <br />classes of persons within the City to elect candidates of their choice and demanding the <br />City notify him of its intent to change to a by-district election system by July 21, 2017, in <br />accordance with AB 350. <br /> <br />While the City Council did not in any way concede to Mr. Shenkman’s allegations, in an <br />effort to avoid costly litigation, on July 21, 2017, the City Council adopted Resolution <br />No. 7179, a resolution declaring the City’s intention to transition from at-large to district- <br />based elections pursuant to Elections Code Section 10010. <br /> <br />On August 1, 2017, the City held its first public hearing to obtain input on any proposed <br />district boundaries. A summary of public comments provided is listed below. <br /> <br />Richard McDonald – Chinese American Equalization Association: Mr. McDonald <br />recommended that the City obtain a minimum of three maps from the City’s <br />demographer. Mr. McDonald recommended that the City Attorney be involved in the <br />drawing of the maps to ensure acceptable legal criteria are considered in the drafting of <br />district boundaries. Mr. McDonald recommended two options of which three Asian <br />majority districts would be created. The first includes one south of Duarte Road, a <br />second south of the 210 freeway, and another east of Santa Anita Racetrack using El <br />Monte Boulevard as a dividing line in the south, Baldwin Avenue as the dividing line in <br />the north, and Huntington Boulevard as the primary southern boundary for the two <br /> <br />2 <br /> <br /> <br />