Where can I learn more about districting, "Communities of Interest," and other parts of this process?
The Brennan Center for Justice has two useful publications regarding districting and redistricting available at the following links:
- A Citzen's Guide to Redistricting
The Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Asian American Legal Center co-wrote "The Impact of Redistricting on Your Community," available at this link.
The California Independent Redstricting Commission put together this collection of "Frequently Asked Questions about Redistricting."
The James Irvine Foundation funded the development of two useful resources on redistricting (though both are focused on state redistricting, most of their advice is useful for City Districting as well):
How many people are on the City Council?
The City Council currently consists of five City Council Members, and the Council Members select a Mayor from among the five. After the change, four Council Members will be elected, each from an individual district, and the Mayor will be elected by the voters at large.
With four "by-district" Council Members and an "at-large" Mayor, the City Council will remain at the same five members it has today.
What is the Districting Process?
The City Council is planning a series of public hearings to receive input from the public on where to draw district lines. In particular, the Council wants the community's input on defining neighborhoods and other "communities of interest" that should be used to guide the line-drawing. Once draft plans from the public and from the City's demographic consultants are posted, the Council also hopes to hear from the public about which map(s) work best for Buena Park, and how the maps should be improved.
What is the role of the demographer?
The demographic consultant will provide and maintain census and other relevant data, including analysis of the City’s population. NDC will also provide tools for the public to create and comment on district maps and communities of interest, assist the public in learning about the districting process, attend community meetings, all advisory meetings and City Council meetings, as well as present the final draft map(s) to the City Council based on community input.
How do I use the online maps and tools to draw a plan?
Instructions are available at the link above labeled "Draw a Map." There are many options: use the "one-page kit" to draw and submit a plan based on total population numbers. Or use the "detailed kit" to draw and submit a plan looking at more detailed demographic data. Or use the Microsoft Excel kit to let Excel add up the demographic number for you. The choice is yours.
What role do community members have in this decision?
Everyone has an important role in drawing the district map that will shape Buena Park's future. The demographer and City staff will provide information to community members and answer questions. The City Council will listen to community comments and ideas, and include them in its decision-making process.
This is the first time that City Council elections will be conducted by districts. The lines drawn today will shape the City's future for decades to come. Young or
old, long-time resident or new, please take this important opportunity to be heard and make an impact with your voice, presence and ideas.
How will the final decision be made?
The City Council will hold public hearings and make the final decision by the end of 2015.
How will the changes to district elections be implemented?
In November 2016, two Council Member seats will be up for election and shall be elected "By District."
In November 2018, the remaining two Council Member seats will be elected "By District," along with the Mayor.
Only voters living in the respective district where a Council Member election is being held can vote for that Council Member seat. The election of the Mayor will remain "at large" (meaning elected by all the voters of the city."
No Council Members currently serving will have their term shortened or residency required prior to the next time that Council Member is up for re-election (in 2016 or 2018, depending on the Council Member).