Voting District Formation Open House Tuesday
A CRITICAL ISSUE
OK, let's ease back into this with something that is critically important to EVERY resident of the City of Costa Mesa - the plan to completely change the way our elected leaders are chosen henceforth.
LITIGATION FORCES THE ISSUE
Presently each of the 5 City Council members are elected "at-large" - everyone votes for every candidate. As some know, there is litigation that is forcing the City to come up with a plan to carve up the City into voting districts in order to provide an opportunity for our Latino population - 37% of our residents - to have a greater say in how the City operates. Under the requirement, candidates will be chosen by a vote of the people in their district - not at large.
A series of workshops have been held, preceded by some one-on-one meetings with the consultant, David Ely, to craft examples of what such voting districts might look like. I've attended all the workshops and reported on each one.
PUBLIC HEARING TUESDAY
Tuesday, July 5th, in a Public Hearing on this issue at the council meeting held that night, the council will consider the most recent options produced by this effort and MAY, at that time, choose how this issue will be presented to the voters on the November 8th ballot. We'll know more when the agenda is released sometime Friday.
OPEN HOUSE - 4:30-5:30 TUESDAY
Prior to the council meeting - which usually begins at 5:45 - there will be an Open House from 4:30 - 5:30 in Conference Room 1A, adjacent to the City Clerk's Office. The City announced this event HERE. It's my understanding that the maps displayed at the last workshop have been changed based on input at that meeting and subsequent correspondence. Those maps, which will be available for review and questions to the consultant at the Open House Tuesday, will be available online as part of the agenda package released Friday, July 1st. Translation services for Spanish and Vietnamese speakers will be provided, just as they have at each workshop.
COMMUNITY INPUT HAS BEEN PROVIDED
Those of us who have attended the workshops have presented questions and offered potential solutions for consideration. By far, one of the iterations of a 5-district model was preferred at EVERY workshop - it wasn't even close. It is, in the end, the City Council majority's decision about which alternative(s) will be presented to the voters. Based on their behavior in the past, it's not a sure thing that they will listen to community input.
DIRECTLY-ELECTED MAYOR SCHEME
One of the recent additions was a scheme - requested by at least one council member - for a 6-district model that would include a directly-elected mayor, which makes the odd number on the dais. Currently our five council members are subject to term limits. For example, lamest of lame ducks Gary Monahan is termed out - again - this year. Unless provision is made in a 6-district scheme for the directly-elected mayor to be subject to term limits we could end up with a mayor for life! The image below was the latest version at the June 15th workshop. It has likely changed.
PLEASE ATTEND THE WORKSHOP AND ASK QUESTIONS
I encourage you to attend the Open House and, if so moved, stick around for the Public Hearing and let the council know how you feel about the choices - or their choice. All that's at stake is the future of our city.