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Like Dominos, North San Diego County Cities Are Moving To District Elections

May 12, 2017 12:45 p.m.

By the time the 2018 elections roll around, there’s a good chance more than half the cities in San Diego County will be voting for their city council representatives by district, not by citywide vote.

Related Story: Like Dominos, North San Diego County Cities Are Moving To District Elections

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

by the time the 2018 elections will run, there is a good chance more than half of the cities of San Diego County will vote for the city Council representatives by district rather than by an at-large city wide vote. Allison St. John says five cities have decided to switch to district elections and not because they wanted to.
At a Council meeting, 40 people spoke and most of them were opposed to the idea of dividing the city into city Council districts.
I am against the district. I do not one member of the city Council representing me. I want the entire city Council representing me. You should represent all of us.
At the end of the night, the Council voted to make the change to district elections. Jerry Kern cited a letter the city received that threatened a lawsuit.
I do not see a win in this for us. I understand what you want. At the bottom line, I have to protect the assets of the city. I will support this, even though I do not want to.
Cities have tried to bite the change and they have all lost in court. Modesto and Palmdale has spent more than $3 million of public money in fines and legal fees.
The attorney one those. Is acting on behalf of the Southwest voter registration project. This is a Latino voting rights organization. He says he is enforcing the California voting rights act on behalf of disenfranchised minorities whose boat is diluted by elections.
The city councils are catering to their base. That often results in the minority community not getting their share of services and not having anyone from the city Council that they can go to with problems.
The city of San Diego with a population of 3.1 million people. They have been part of the district since 1978. Escondido was threatened with legal action if it did not change. That was in 2012. The mayor is still angry. He said he is a minority in the city had a Latino on the Council.
What is wrong with this? Nothing.
It is nothing but a political game. The politicians are using the district to make sure they give the minorities an advantage over the regular residence. There is no need to create a district pick
He says districts may work for bigger city is but smaller cities, it leads to turf wars.
It becomes a neighborhood approach. It becomes a tribal approach. I do not like it.
The Oceanside City Council supports the change. She says voting by district will make a difference because our people will be able to afford to run for office.
Then you can have real elections, not where the incumbent raises money for a seat that only pays $20,000 per year. I think bringing it down closer to the neighborhood level, I think it will have better elections and a better class of candidates and those that will truly be responsive to the community.
Sanchez is not happy about the speed with which ocean side has to decide on boundaries. The legal threat gives them 90 days. The criteria for drawing the lines cannot be racial but should be based on communities of interest. Jerry Kern urged residents to get involved in the upcoming meetings.
Do not walk away tonight and leave it here. You have the schedule. Be engaged. Stay engaged. See what we can do to control this.
The latest city to receive a letter threatening legal action that does not move to district elections is Carlsbad. Smaller cities can expect to hear from them soon. Allison St. John, K PBS news.