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City providing clarity regarding City Council’s terms and goals

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In light of the City Council’s vote regarding cumulative and district voting and subsequent misinformation circulating online, the City is clarifying the various perceptions about the City Council’s terms and goals. To simplify, the responses, a bullet point listing is the most efficient.

  • The City adheres to the rule of law – as the law exists, not as it is wished to be.
  • The hierarchy of government enactments is that “ordinances” (a law of the city) supersede and rule over resolutions, which are policy statements.
  • As set forth in Mission Viejo Municipal Code Section 2.04.140, the law is that Council Members serve four-year terms. Commentators over the past year note that the ordinance has not been changed to reflect a two-year term. It has not, by intent, and won’t be until a complete cumulative voting system ordinance to replace the current ordinance law is established.  
  • The resolution noting a two-year term was done with the anticipation that the replacement cumulative voting ordinance would be completed and adopted. It has not been and so, to ensure the law is followed, the current law is being followed. As observed, a law (ordinance) outranks a resolution (policy direction).  
  • All efforts to construct the replacement ordinance continue. As soon as the new local ordinance is assured of legal validity, it will be adopted.
  • All aspects of law are being followed and opinions to the contrary are the right of the holder but are not reflective of the law. 
  • Mission Viejo voters made their voices extremely clear and overwhelmingly expressed opposition to districts.  The City has two choices – cumulative and districts. If it is cumulative, then all five seats will be up for election in 2022. However, if it is district, then the two seats filled in 2020 would be four-year terms (to 2024), and seats for the three other districts would be up for election to a four-year term in 2022.  

Sec. 2.04.140. - Election of members

City council members shall hold office for four years from the Monday succeeding the county clerk's certification of the election and until their successors are elected and qualified.

Comments

Submitted by Cathy Schlicht on Wed, 07/01/2020 - 11:34 am

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A question: If Ed Sachs and Wendy Bucknum and Greg Raths were elected to four year terms in 2018, why was it necessary for the city attorney to designate that the Mayor Brian Goodell and Mayor Pro Tem Trish Kelley will be going out for election for a two year term?

In 2016, Goodell and Kelley were elected for the statutory four year term. So why the distinction at the June 23 council meeting? As a matter of law, their term is up in 2020.

If municipal code supercedes a resolution, and whoever wins a 2 year term in 2020, can they point to City Code Sec 2.04.140 and extend their term for another 2 years?

And in regards to the statement: "Mission Viejo voters made their voices extremely clear and overwhelmingly expressed opposition to districts" - The public was baited into opposing district based voting and were demanding that the city fight the charges of polarized voting. That did not happen.

Additionally, the public was not given the choice between district based voting vs. cumulative voting. The ad hoc committee members Trish Kelley and Greg Raths decided that for us behind closed doors.

This is a HOT MESS.

Submitted by URSULA on Wed, 07/01/2020 - 4:38 pm

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Please can you the city clarify. What helps me is the list of council members and the date they started their official duty to our city. Then I can calculate four years on my own abacus and see what is really going on.

Submitted by Jacki DeMarchi on Thu, 07/02/2020 - 9:47 pm

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Can the City please provide information on how the City Council came to the conclusion that Mission Viejo Citizens , "made their voices extremely clear and overwhelmingly expressed opposition to districts."

When was public feedback gathered? Were any polls conducted? What city council meeting was this an agenda item at?

I have been a resident and taxpayer in this city for many years, and have no recollection of any proactive information gathering done by the city on this matter. I am not at all opposed to districts, I am however opposed to re-electing a city council that has closed door meetings, and takes power away from the voters for decisions that are rightfully theirs to make.

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