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Districting: A Critical Decision for Dana Point
BETTY HILL, Dana Point
Dana Point is being forced to make one of the most important decisions in its history: Whether Dana Point should create five voting districts to replace an at-large voting system for City Council. This decision must be made within weeks in response to a California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) lawsuit. Therefore, the April 3 City Council meeting is extremely critical for residents to attend.
Does Dana Point need districting? Facts show that districting won’t create a minority voting district in our city because of small and scattered minority populations. In fact, it would substantially reduce the voting impact of all Dana Point residents, who could vote for only one council member for their district every four years. Yet somehow, a majority of the City Council seems to be in a rush to adopt a voting system that hurts everyone.
I believe there are possible solutions being worked through by other cities, which would likely receive substantial support from the Dana Point community. It would create four districts for voters to elect one council member for their district and also elect an at-large mayor. People would be voting for two council members who would be accountable to them, rather than just one.
The Council and the City Attorney should be working for us: getting up-to-date facts and discussing with other cities solutions they are considering. Mission Viejo is negotiating for alternatives without districting. The city should more fully inform residents about the ramifications of this upcoming decision and ways to actually improve voting by our minority groups so that they can be effectively represented as they deserve. Dana Point’s minority populations are vital to the city’s diversity and culture.
The Council has already directed that maps for district boundaries be prepared. Districts are supposed to preserve communities within the city, not to create districts to promote Council candidates. However, this critical decision to create districts and boundaries could be approved by the vote of just three councilmen – such as Councilmen Viczorek, Tomlinson and Muller who may seek reelection this year.
Please attend the April 3 Council meeting or write the Council at Kward@danapoint.org .