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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Help La Verne decide what its new city council districts should look like

Help La Verne decide what its new city council districts should look like

La Verne’s transition to district-based voting has begun to take shape as residents this week provided maps with suggested district boundaries for upcoming elections.

In a public hearing on Monday, November 1, the city council reviewed five resident-generated district maps it had received. According to a preliminary analysis by National Demographics Corp. – the company that guides the city through the district process – only one map “sufficiently balanced” the city’s population among the proposed districts, a staff report read.

With this in mind, the Council requested that the map amendments be brought back for review, while also encouraging residents to create and submit additional draft maps.

For draft district maps to be legally considered at the final hearing on November 15, they must be submitted via the city’s website, maplaverne.org. Paper maps are due by 5 pm on Friday, November 5, and maps prepared using online tools on the District R platform by 8 am on Monday, November 8.

Although residents can technically submit maps and feedback at the November 15 hearing, that information cannot be acted upon by the council.

Under state law, the city must adopt a district map by December 15.

Based on the Council’s response, the NDC will present maps with four and five districts on November 15. When the council began the district process in July, it did so with the intention of creating five council districts with the seat of the mayor among the council members. According to a city news release.

At the meeting Monday, NDC President Douglas Johnson said anything less than five districts would reduce Latino voting power in parts of the city.

“You’ll have a stronger Latino voice than the four in the five-district system,” Johnson said at the meeting. In the spirit of the California Voting Rights Act, he said, “it makes sense to go with five.”

Under this act, voting districts must refrain from racial gendermandering. Public agencies can be prosecuted whenever “racially polarized voting” can be shown in the system of electing their representatives, the act says.

Some residents who spoke on Monday supported retaining four council districts and electing a mayor at large.

“I think the mayor should be elected by all citizens because now we are already being suppressed by our vote,” said resident Anna Anderson. “We can’t vote whoever we want but at least we can vote for one person on this council who we know will represent the whole city.”

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