El Cajon To Begin Workshops For Drawing District Boundaries
The El Cajon City Council has set up five public workshops and published criteria for drawing council boundaries in the city for the first time.
The first workshop will be on Wednesday, and the final workshop will be in April.
El Cajon voters approved Measure S in November 2016 to set up separate council districts, instead of continuing to elect councilmembers by a city-wide vote. Some residents and advocates hope the new system will diversify the council, which is currently all men and mostly white.
The five workshops will be from 7-8:30 p.m. on the following dates:
–Feb. 22, Flying Hills Elementary School, 1251 Finch St.
–Feb. 23, Greenfield Middle School, 1495 Greenfield Dr.
–Feb. 28, Chase Avenue Elementary School, 195 E. Chase Ave.
–March 1, Lexington Elementary School, 1145 Redwood Ave.
–April 18, Ronald Reagan Community Center, 195 E. Douglas Ave.
"All residents are encouraged to attend in order to become informed on the issue and to ask questions," according to a statement from the city. "Attendees will also be given direction on how to submit their own draft district maps for review by the consultant."
The City Council also approved a list of criteria for district maps. Those are:
–Each council district shall contain a nearly equal number of inhabitants.
–Council district borders shall be drawn in a manner that complies with the Federal Voting Rights Act.
–Council districts shall consist of contiguous territory in as compact form as possible.
–Council districts shall respect communities of interest as much as possible.
–Council district borders shall follow visible natural and man-made geographical and topographical features as much as possible.
–In adjusting boundaries following their initial establishment, each new council district shall preserve the corresponding existing council district’s population and territory as much as possible.
–Council districts known to be areas of higher-than-average population growth in the two to five years following this boundary line adjustment may be under populated within the population deviation amounts allowed by law.
–To the extent it does not conflict with federal or state law an effort should be made to establish boundaries so that at least two council districts include voters in similar numbers residing in the City’s central business district (also known as downtown El Cajon, as described by the boundaries of Specific Plan 182) and these council districts should also include comparable geographic area and land uses.
The first four workshops will all cover the same materials, so residents only need to attend one, according to the city. The last workshop will be used to review drafts of maps already submitted.
Spanish and Arabic translation services will be available.