Public invited to attend Encinitas hearing on voting districts Sept. 20

The Encinitas City Council will turn to the public tonight for input on how to shape its potential future voting districts.

Members are the public are encouraged to attend the Sept. 20 City Council meeting, where the council will lay out criteria and the deadline for submitting voting maps.

The hearing is the second in a series of five public hearings aimed at creating a map that divides the city into electoral districts for future City Council elections.

“It is essential that our community members become involved in shaping how the City’s leaders are chosen,” Mayor Catherine Blakespear said. “We urge you to attend this hearing and be involved in this very important process.”

Encinitas is one of several cities that has been targeted by a Malibu-based law firm over its current at-large voting system, which the firm says disenfranchises Latino voters. Kevin Shenkman of the firm Shenkman & Hughes has threatened to sue Encinitas if it does not transition from the citywide council elections to a by-district election system.

After receiving public comment at tonight’s public hearing, the Council will set the criteria and deadline for map submittals by the public and demographer. The tentative deadline listed on the city’s website for public map submittals is Oct. 18. The City Council will select the final map.

By Sept. 29, the city is expected to publish draft electoral maps and the potential sequence of future elections.

The public will have its first opportunity to weigh in on the draft maps and the sequence at an Oct. 7 workshop and and Oct. 11 public hearing.

By November, the city will be hosting its final two public hearings, in which the council will choose to move forward with establishing district elections or potentially to fight the lawsuit to preserve the at-large system.

The public will have chances to comment on the final maps and sequence at the November hearings, tentatively scheduled for Nov. 8 and 15.

Residents looking for more information on the city’s district-forming process can visit http://encinitasca.gov/Districting.

 

2 Comments
  1. John Eldon 3 months ago

    Our two attorneys on council, Catherine Blakespear and Joe Mosca, have wisely decided to start the district election process under duress, to get the out-of-town monkey, who “doesn’t know the territory,” off our backs. I hope at the same time they can express visible and strong support for Huntington Beach in its fight against Shenkman. Our arguments are similar to theirs, and if they can prevail, we shall have the much-needed precedent we currently lack.

    In the meantime, we did see two credible starting-point strawman maps at the 20 Sep. City Council meeting — let’s select and tune one of those, or a reasonable alternative, and move ahead. I encourage anti-districting residents of Encinitas and other California cities to mount an effort to overturn this aspect of the Voting Rights Act, or at least raise the population threshold above which it applies.

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