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Council to consider switching to district-based elections February 13

The Mission Viejo City Council on Tuesday, February 13 is expected to decide whether to transition from at-large to district-based council member elections during its fifth public hearing on the matter.

The public hearing begins at 6 p.m. in the Council Chamber at 200 Civic Center.

The hearings, which started late last year, were prompted by a demand letter the City of Mission Viejo received from a Malibu-based law firm claiming the City’s at-large election system dilutes the vote of the Latino community. (See this webpage for information.) 
 
Since then, the City has sought public input regarding the composition of the districts; content of draft maps; and the proposed sequence of elections. To simplify the public’s participation, the City created a how-to video for drawing district maps as well as webpages with history and information about the process.
 
Council meetings, which are streamed live at http://cityofmissionviejo.org/stream, take place in the Council Chamber at 200 Civic Center.

Comments

I fully support this change which will bring a healthy balance to the council

I do not see a burning need for something like this since we don't have a problem to begin with. This seems to be a solution in search of a problem that doesn't exist. I am sure that our city council would want to avoid a lawsuit, but we don't have a problem. In addition, why are they only worried about the Latino vote? What about the Asian vote, or the Black vote, or the Middle Eastern vote? I could go on and on, but the bottom line is this is nothing more than an attempted shake down of our city and we shouldn't allow someone in Malibu to dictate how we vote. Our current voting system works just fine!

I do not think we need district-based council member elections. I have lived in Mission Viejo for 20 years. My street is very diverse and has always been this way. I do not think we have pockets for ethnic people. I think this is a waste of time and would only encourage polarization, not better representation.

Since we're being forced, it seems to me that TULLY_G or MOORE-L are the most logical boundaries. Geographical proximity grouping has the best chance of grouping people with common interests. The other plans look contrived to reflect some sort of racial or economic bias in the districting. Geographic proximity is the only fair and unbiased method for drawing the districts.

I do not see the need for this in Mission Viejo. We are not a huge city and people of different beliefs and backgrounds seem to live in many areas. We should try to as one and strive for what is best for the city and not individual interest groups. It is a waste of time and money.

We do not need to district our maps. People running for office under the current system works. The current system allows anyone to run for office,as it should be.

In the beginning, I was opposed to district based voting. I had wanted the right to vote for five council members.

But after a lot thought, I am now in strong support of District Based Voting.

My #1 reason is that I believe district voting will restore accountability. It seems all too often that once a council member takes office, they tend to cater to the needs of special interest and will only turn their attention to the public during election time. With districts, it will be election time all the time.

We will return to a citizen based council instead of a city council tending to their own personal agendas, that we have all witnessed and experienced with At Large elections.

Imagine having five council members directly accountable to their voters – that is what District Based Voting will bring back to Mission Viejo.

As it stands now,each council member acts based what they believe are the best interests of the city as a whole. If district based, they will be obligated to represent the interests of their district ("election time all the time") perhaps not always the same as those of the city as a whole. We only have to look at our state and federal governments to see how well that system works.

It seems to me that we have five council members concerned about the needs of all the voters;the state of our city seems to confirm that.

I am STRONGLY OPPOSED to District Voting, and much prefer AT-LARGE voting as we currently have. I like having a say on all of the City Council Members, not just one. Our city is not that big where it is warranted. And, I have not seen that it is justified due to discrimination of any kind, in our community. It is already difficult to find solid, well-qualified candidates who are WILLING to run for City Council. Once that is broken down into districts, that will multiply the difficulty. We need THE BEST to run from our entire city. RESIST ANY PRESSURE TO MAKE THIS CHANGE. I urge a NO VOTE on District Voting.

I do not support district based elections. I have not noticed that any particular geographical part of this city has been disadvantaged in any particular way since this community became a city many years ago. I prefer that each council member continue to represent and be accountable to, the interests of all residents of the city. I am concerned that divisions may occur on the council as members just listen to the loudest or most persistent residents of what they will come to consider "their' district.

Mission Viejo does not need district based voting, nor do we need a Malibu law firm to dictate that we move to districts where we can only vote for the candidate in "our" district. The suggestion is ridiculous. The current "at-large" method of election for City Council members is by far the most fair for the entire City population, with each Council member being responsible for the entire City issues, not just their smaller "district.

The city can be sued for not switching to district based voting. On September 29, 2017, the city received a demand letter from Shenkman & Hughes with a claim that our current At Large voting is violating voters rights as defined by the California Voter Rights Act (CVRA). The CVRA is written in such a way , with a very low bar, that a city or a school district or any district, cannot win in state court.

The Poster Child is the City of Palmdale – its Jauregui vs. City of Palmdale lawsuit cost that city over $7 million along with a Court of Appeal decision that has become the precedent setting case. When you lose in Court, the Court then draws the district boundaries. Every council member in the state who has faced this decision to turn to district based voting, has realized that a lawsuit is an expensive uphill battle.

Another lawsuit, this one filed in Federal Court on October 3, 2017 by the private sector - Higginson v. Becerra, Case #3:17-cv-02032 - has some hope of winning. However, whoever loses will take it to the higher court for appeal. So it will take quite a while for the final conclusion on the constitutionality of the CVRA.

Why should the citizens of Mission Viejo foot the bill for a lawsuit that will have statewide ramifications. We need to be patient and go to district based voting, and let the private sector battle it out against the State of California. Depending on the outcome, the city can switch back to At Large voting.

There are pros and cons to both forms of voting, but I am hopeful that District Based Voting will be successful in Mission Viejo.

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