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Districting advisory committee direction / Chartering discussion

From: domainremoved <John>
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:06:53 +0000 (UTC)

Dear Council Members -
  First, here are two suggestions regarding the advisory committee process:
  1.  The rules for allowed district sizes should be more carefully stated than they are on the city web site. The web site gives an example of '8% over and 2%' under, without explicitly stating the general rule for all plans (with 5 districts): The maximum district size minus the minimum district size should be no more than 640. The latter number is 10% of total MP population divided by 5.  (A further rule allows even greater latitude when justified.)        Clarifying this rule is important as the most compact definition for District 1, to include Belle Haven, requires use of this rule. Therefore the public, Belle Haven residents and the committee need to know how the rule works to allow District 1 to be much smaller than the other four, if that's desired.     2.  Part of the advisory committee's recommendation will be 'election sequencing', meaning a choice of which districts will vote in 2018. With three seats open, only three districts will vote in 2018.  
     -  First, it seems evident given the CVRA backdrop, that District 1 will be one of the three voting districts. Please make that clear. 
     -  Second, council should have some discussion of expectations for how the two other districts may be chosen by the committee.  This decision is  quite different from the district plan selection, with (as I understand) two potential council candidates voting for whether they will be allowed to run from their districts or not.  
   As to process, one option is that the districts to vote are selected randomly by coin toss. Alternatively, some might argue that incumbents have too strong an advantage in the first district elections, and therefore that their districts should not be selected.  Another option might be: one incumbent district, one non-incumbent district, again selected by coin toss.  
   As a resident wondering whether I'll vote in 2018 or not, I'd appreciate some discussion of such options and what to expect. The city will also be well-served by early communication on this challenging issue.  
Second, on chartering:
  I agree with the staff report that it is impractical and ill-advised to pursue a charter option for 2018.  I mainly believe that there is too little time for residents to get a clear understanding and form their preferences given the districting process also underway. 
  However, the city needs to begin a discussion about the desirability of the 5- or 6-district option to be selected, compared to other possibilities.   The discussion can include the relevance of CVRA, expected population changes in MP, census uncertainties, responsibilities of district representatives, and pros and cons to hybrid district/at-large options.  
   A  study session, possibly augmented by a presentation/facilitation by an outside expert, could be conducted over the coming months, along with opportunities for public input.   Such a session might also be used to formulate staff direction in preparation for a  2019 session to consider a charter option for 2020.  It may turn out that a 5- or 6-district plan makes the best sense, but we'll only know by discussing that explicitly, and we can begin that sometime in 2018 while districting ideas are still fresh in our minds.  
  Sincerely,  John Kadvany / College Ave.                
Received on Tue Jan 16 2018 - 16:13:22 PST

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