Commentary and Analysis: Why Davis Should Go to District Elections in November 2020

Gloria Partida, Melissa Moreno, and Cindy Pickett in front of the Statement of Love Mural – three women of color elected in 2018 in Davis

All indications suggest but do not confirm that a resident of South Davis is behind the filing of the letter and potential lawsuit against the city of Davis.  That is a bit ironic because it would appear they are using the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) as leverage to get a seat for South Davis on the council – more on that at another point in time.

I never really thought I would support district elections.  However, attempts to fight this would be expensive, probably futile and, perhaps more importantly, impolitic – imagine a supposedly progressive community trying to make the argument that we are too white for district elections to improve the amount of representation for the under-served.

For those who argue that Davis has its minority populations spread relatively evenly throughout the city, I’m not sure they are correct.  We don’t have the data yet, but we know from the battle from 2007-2008 to save Valley Oak and the population at Montgomery, that this may not correct at all.

The data here is actually surprisingly strong that the current system disadvantages people of color’s electoral clout in Davis – which is a key showing that Mr. Rexroad and his client(s) must make in order to prevail if their letter were to be challenged.

Legal Standards

According to the city analysis: “(The CVRA)  prohibits an at-large election system from being applied in a way that impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or influence the outcome of elections because of the dilution or abridgment of the rights of the voters who are members of the protected class.”

The term “racially polarized voting” is defined as voting in which there is a difference “in the choice of candidates or other electoral choices that are preferred by voters in a protected class and in the choice of candidates and electoral choices that are preferred by voters in the rest of the electorate.”

A key point: “The threshold required for showing a violation of the CVRA is low.”

Moreover, the city found that “a minority group does not have to be geographically compact or concentrated to allege a violation of the CVRA.”

There is no requirement for proof of intent and “[t]he main remedy under the CVRA is to move to district-based elections, which is a method of election in which ‘the candidate must reside within an election district . . . and is elected only by voters residing within that election district.'”

Bottom line – if the city analysis is correct, geographic concentrations do not matter and district elections, not choice voting, is the remedy.

Racial Breakdowns and Proportions of People of Color on Council

There is some question over the exact racial breakdown in Davis.  To be honest it doesn’t make a huge difference, but all available evidence points to Davis becoming much more racially diverse over the last two decades.

Data from the 2010 census shows that Davis was at that time about 65 percent white.  The 2017 State of the City report utilizing the 2015 American Community Survey found about 56.5 percent of the population to be white.  That would suggest current totals somewhere between 52 and 55 percent to be reasonable.

But regardless of whether people of color represent 35 percent of the population as they did in 2010 or now 40 to 45 percent of the population, we can see that the electoral system consistently disadvantages them.

It is tempting to look at the current composition of the council with one Latina and one Asian and conclude that Davis is about where it should be.  However, looking at the 10- and 20-year numbers puts this into perspective.

Since 2010, if you calculate on the basis of five seats per year, you come up with 50 possible seats.  Of those, 10 have been held by people of color – eight years for Brett Lee and two years for Gloria Partida (for the period that ends with the next election in 2020 and started with the election in June of 2010).

Ten out of 50 puts the percentage of people of color at 20 percent.  That is about half of what you would expect if the electoral results are proportionate to the share of the population.

Over a 20-year period, with 100 possible seats, people of color held 22 of those, slightly better.

However, that throws Asians – Ruth Asmundson, Lamar Heystek and Brett Lee – in with the single Latina elected in 2018.

If we look at those in the protected class – blacks, Latinos, Native Americans – Davis fares even worse, with just two of the 100 seats when we should expect somewhere between 15 to 20 percent.

Bottom line – Davis may be a much whiter community compared to other surrounding communities, but it still under-represents people of color in its governing boards.

Going to November Elections Is Recommended

In the city’s release, they noted, “The City contacted the Yolo County Elections Office to determine the applicable deadlines for the March 3, 2020 election. The County has stated that it would have to receive the district boundaries before September 12. This would not provide adequate time for the City to conduct the required public hearings and vote on an ordinance establishing districts.”

They conclude: “Therefore, the March 3, 2020 election will not be impacted by any decision to transition to districts. The first Davis municipal election that could potentially be district-based would be in March 2022.”

But Matt Rexroad told the Vanguard: “They can easily move to November and make this work.”

The city told me in response that it may be more complicated than that.  Since I can’t evaluate the city’s argument, all I can say is that Matt Rexroad makes two critical points that are correct.

First, the city of Davis is now the only city in the county that holds its city elections during the primary.

Second, he is correct in arguing that “many more Latinos and Asians will have the opportunity to run and vote in elections where they are more likely to participate.”

Holding elections in June and in this year in March further disadvantages people of color.

Across the board, people are more likely to participate in November than June – but far more so for people of color.  The turnout for whites in November is 59 percent versus 43 percent in the primary.  For Latinos, it falls from 40 percent to 21 percent and for Asians from 44 percent to 26.5 percent.

Latinos are just 5 percent of the voter pool during the primary, but over 7 percent in the general.  Asians go from 7.5 percent to 8.7 percent and whites fall from 87 to 84.

The numbers don’t fly off the page at you – if anything, what does fly off the page is the fact that whites are about 55 percent of the population, but are 78 percent of those registered to vote and 84 percent of those who actually vote.

But it is clear that if you want more people of color to participate in the election, you hold it in November of even years, not in the primary.

We understand that the city may not be able to move the elections to November 2020 – but, given where things are headed, they should try.

Conclusion

The potential litigant would not have to show that going to district elections would produce a better result.  The data, though, pretty convincingly shows that people of color are disadvantaged in Davis compared to their share of the overall population.

We would like to analyze the data at the precinct level because I believe it will show there are more concentration pockets in Davis than most people are aware of.

Finally it is worth noting that by going to district elections, we lower the barrier to entry.  Instead of having to launch a citywide election, the election might be one-fifth to one-quarter as large.  That means instead of reaching 20 to 30 thousand people, they may only have to reach out to 4000 or 5000.  That would greatly reduce the cost, the size of an organization and might greatly lower the barrier to entry.

One question that is up in the air is how to select the mayor.  Obviously, having the top vote-getter will not work under a district system.  That means two options – rotate the mayor or have four districts and an at-large mayor.

According to the League of Cities analysis: “There is a question of whether a by-district election system with an at-large mayor qualifies as an at-large election system that is vulnerable to a CVRA challenge.”

They add, “While the issue of whether a by-district election system with an at-large mayor qualifies as an at-large system has arisen in previous CVRA cases, there are no binding, appellate decisions on the issue.”

My preference would be a mixed system and a stronger mayor, but it is not clear if that can happen.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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68 Comments

  1. Don Shor

    Summary:

    They don’t have to prove that there is an actual problem.

    They don’t have to demonstrate that district elections solve the problem they didn’t prove.

    The city has to do it anyway. They have to pay Matt Rexroad a bunch of money if they do, and probably pay a bunch of consultants and Matt Rexroad a lot more money if they don’t.

    It doesn’t have any provable benefits to the city residents or to the supposedly less-represented voters.

    The citizens of Davis don’t get to weigh in on this at all. An outside lawyer is forcing this change on the residents of Davis. The council will make the decision under duress.

    Policy by plaintiff seems to be the new norm.

    1. David Greenwald

      I think the state made the decision when they passed the CVRA that cities were going to go to district elections. Given that, they probably should have just mandated all cities do that by 2020. On the other hand, they probably got less pushback this way.

      I think there is an actual problem here as the analysis shows. We don’t know that the change will solve that problem – but then again, that would be a pretty high barrier if they did.

    2. Matt Williams

      In agree with Don’s assessment with one exception … the second sentence of Don’s fifth paragraph should read, “The California Legislature and Governor are forcing this change on the residents of Davis.”

      That happens all the time.  The $90 million Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade was doubly expensive because of State-imposed discharge requirements.  The multi-hundred million dollar Surface Water Treatment Plant was necessary because of those same State-imposed wastewater discharge requirements.  The well water that came from the water fixtures in our homes met Health and Safety requirements, but a garden hose taking that same “safe for human consumption” tap water and discharging it as wastewater would be in violation of those same State-imposed wastewater discharge requirements. Good enough for people, but not good enough for the environment.

      Related to this subject, but on a more holistic scale are George Will’s comments in his interview with Judy Woodruff on PBS on Monday.  It is worth watching, and listening closely to.  Here is a link to the streaming video of that interview, which is titled George Will on American conservatism and Trump’s ‘lasting damage’

    3. Alan Miller

      I think the state made the decision when they passed the CVRA that cities were going to go to district elections. Given that, they probably should have just mandated all cities do that by 2020. On the other hand, they probably got less pushback this way.

      What is actually happening is that the CA legislature is made up of a large percentage of lawyers.  They are feeding their own.  Create a problem only your friends can fix, your friends send you to Las Vegas and pay cash for your fantasy prostitute.  All is well.

  2. Matt Williams

    From Fair Vote California:

    A new bill in the California legislature would allow cities to switch to a new method known as ranked choice voting (RCV), which ensures winning candidates have a strong mandate from voters. California State Sen. Ben Allen introduced SB 212 to allow general law cities and counties, as well as school districts, the flexibility to run RCV elections.

    More on SB 212, which was introduced on February 4th, 2019.  Here is a LINK for tracking the Bill’s progress.

  3. Alan Pryor

    ….what does fly off the page is the fact that whites are about 55% of the population, but 78% of those registered to vote and 84% of those who actually vote.

    This is not because whites are more likely to vote than people of color. It is because seniors are more likely to vote than younger people and Davis’ seniors are disproportionately white as was clearly shown in Rik Keller’s analysis of whiteness in Davis from September 23, 2018  – “How White Is Davis Anyway? A Comparative Demographic Analysis

  4. Eric Gelber

    Perhaps a more accurate (or at least an additional) indicator of racial polarization than the number of people of color who have been elected to the Council is the percentage of candidates who are people of color who get elected versus the percentage of white candidates who are elected.

    The discussion should include, apart from the CVRA, what are the advantages and disadvantages of city-wide vs. district elections for city council? E.g., many interests of residents do vary by locality. District representation facilitates personal connections with constituents. It’s simpler and less costly to run a district election campaign.

    1. Matt Williams

      Perhaps a more accurate (or at least an additional) indicator of racial polarization than the number of people of color who have been elected to the Council is the percentage of candidates who are people of color who get elected versus the percentage of white candidates who are elected.

      To address the issue Eric poses, I have dipped into one of my databases and what you see below is the 61 City Council candidates who have run since 2000, ranked in the order of the votes they received from high to low.  Counting Lee, Asmundson, Partida, Heystek, Escamilla-Greenwald, and Rios as “non-White” the percentage of non-White candidates who have won is 66.7% (6 out of 9) and the percentage of White candidates  who have won is 48.1% (25 out of 52).

      https://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2018-11-06-Davis-Election-Results.jpg

      1. Alan Miller

        MW,

        You didn’t separate “protected non-white” from “unprotected non-white”.

        They are not the same, y’know . . .

        Apparently . . .

        And percentages don’t matter 🙂 !

        1. Bill Marshall

          or, “protected white”… there are other ‘protected classes’ that have nada to do with ethnicity…

          Depending on what one is doing, one should ‘wear protection’… ear-muffs in a high noise environment, for example (and most can think of other examples)…

          And, as it comes up on the 2020 census, supposedly anonymous, we can self-report any ethnicity, with/without “23 & me”… a safe designation would be “other” or “mixed”… hard to prove perjury on either, even with worst case scenario… an act of civil disobedience, perhaps, but perhaps we put that question in same category as “are you a legal citizen?”  Am seriously considering doing exactly that… constitutionally, whether you reside in the US, is the only defensible question… every other question is, constitutionally, “fluff”… no one should feel compelled to offer anything other than ‘name, address of residence’… no ‘serial #’s’, no info on how many bedrooms, TV’s, sexual preference (or, how often you express your preference), or any of the other questions that may be on the census forms…

          If answering all the questions is ‘going with the flow’, I just might take the attitude of “hell no, I will not flow!”… kinda’ remember something like that growing up…

      2. Alan Miller

        . . . and since it is “IN” for people to ‘self-identify’, did you check with all these people to see if they wanted to be labeled as “non-white”, and, by omission, “white”.

  5. Alan Miller

    that throws Asians: Ruth Asmundson, Lamar Heystek, and Brett Lee in with the single Latina elected in 2018.

    for the City to conduct the required public hearings and vote on an ordinance establishing districts.”

    Labeling people by race, categorizing the city by racial makeup — it’s like the Vanguard is 7 years old and Santa just put the most expensive Lego set in the catalog under the tree.

      1. Bill Marshall

        It’s hard to analyze racial impact without data

        Yet, you and many do… assumptions/presumptions… how data, when available, is interpreted (subjective, and subject to inherent bias) and where does one draw the line between ethnic/racial/socio-economic/parental education, etc., factors… you are not an “innocent” on that… but you are very far from alone in that… ain’t none of us close to perfect on that…

        We tend to cite that which supports our views/biases… called “human”…

    1. Matt Williams

      I have been laboring under the misconception all these years that Brett Lee was Native American.  Asian had never been mentioned by anyone in the past.

      1. Alan Miller

        And in that, MW, you hit the problem square on the head . . . as apparently, that distinction really MATTERS, as, to paraphrase Orwell, some racial classes are more equal than others.

  6. Alan Miller

    If we look at those in the protected class – blacks, Latinos, Native Americans –

    There is a ‘protected class’, and it consists of the above three groups, but not Asians, persons from the Middle East, Icelanders, Estonians, Pacific Islanders or Jews?  What percentage of some ‘class’ does someone have to be to be protected?  How do they prove it?

    1. David Greenwald

      “What percentage of some ‘class’ does someone have to be to be protected?”

      Under Title VII there certain classes that are specifically “protected” from discrimination by federal law.  There is no “percentage” that they need to be in order to protected.

        1. Bill Marshall

          Like!

          Also, reminds me of an old story… Rabbi and Priest are hanging out together… priest goes on and on about the Church… Rabbi says, “yeah, have heard that one of our boys made it to the top of your organization…”

      1. Bill Marshall

        Remember a great line from Shakespeare… the law is an ass… Title VII is on one hand very good, and on the other, flawed… nothing new under the sun…

  7. Dave Hart

    We already have district elections for Yolo county Board of Supervisors. In what way and under what circumstances has that been a problem?  Not a rhetorical question, just asking in general.  Obviously a county is different from a city, but are there similarities?  A district election narrows each voter’s scope of attention to one-fifth of the geographic area and a candidate can focus resources on one-fifth of the geographic area as well.  We can, of course, donate to a candidate in another district, but as regular citizens most of us won’t do so.  Developers, businesses and others who might have a city-wide interest in the overall results of an election will be motivated to spend in more than one district.  We can all speculate on the downside (most of us are glass half empty types) and on the upside as well.  It’s probably just different in the end and for that reason alone may not be worth fighting over.

    One question:  if there were a referendum on doing this and it did not pass, would that still leave us in the same legal area where an out of towner like Rexroad could file and possibly prevail in his lawsuit?

    1. Don Shor

      under what circumstances has that been a problem?

      Seems that Duane Chamberlain has been on the losing end of some 4:1 votes about changing land uses for ag land. One example here: https://www.dailydemocrat.com/2013/05/10/yolo-county-supervisors-vote-on-use-permits-sparks-ag-tourism-discussion/
      He has always represented primarily the rural part of the county. The other supervisors have, or had, more urban concentrations, at least until they redrew the districts and tried basically to force him out. His re-election came about due to his very lopsided victory in the non-urban parts of the county. I wonder if the other supervisors would have taken some of their positions if they had to interact more with the rural residents affected by land use changes.

      1. Dave Hart

        That is an illuminating example.  I imagine we can expect the same type of dynamic to develop where voters in one area of Davis, to the extent they see their problems as distinct from all other areas, will increasingly view themselves as at odds with the rest of town.  In Davis, at least, the new dynamic will not be to advantage any ethnic or language minority as much as to guarantee a vote of someone who is more conservative.  In a town like Davis, none of the city council members is particularly conservative.  I expect that to be the most significant impact of district elections:  a permanent anti-tax, anti-government type seat and voice on the city council and the school board. Or at least it will be a more pronounced potential going forward.

        1. Don Shor

          I expect that to be the most significant impact of district elections: a permanent anti-tax, anti-government type seat and voice on the city council and the school board.

          Given the precinct voting patterns in the newer parts of East Davis and South Davis, I think you are right. I have no idea how they (the council, presumably) will draw districts. If the goal is to enhance representation of certain ethnic groups, they will have a lot of trouble figuring that out. But if it’s just done on geography, the dynamics of the council will likely change.

          As with DJUSD this raises the question as to what would happen to the current council members, who will likely find themselves in the same districts. And of course, having the council draw their own district boundaries is a pretty clear conflict of interest.

          It would be really nice to have time to discuss these things, get community discussions, feedback from experts, etc. But evidently Rexroad doesn’t care about any of that, based on David’s reporting.

        2. Matt Williams

          Building on Don’s comments, if better representation is indeed the goal (as it should be), one of the considerations not discussed thus far is to change the number of Council members from the current 5 to 7 or possibly even more.  That would produce smaller districts, with which it would probably be easier to accomplish the desired representation diversity. Thoughts?

          Unfortunately, the City’s press release spends as much time on the impact of Council size on representation as it does on the impact of Ranked Choice Voting on representation.

          Another wrinkle with respect to the DJUSD vs. City district boundaries, if the City (wisely) moves the Election date back from March to November, then the first district elections of both DJUSD and the City will take place simultaneously. If both jurisdictions stick to 5 Board/Council members, will their district boundaries be close to identical or rather different?

          BTW, the City of Woodland votes by districts, but it appears that the Woodland JUSD votes at-large. Given that is Rexroad’s home town, if this were his crusade and/or his plan for making money, wouldn’t Woodland have been the first place he would have “struck”? That piece of circumstantial evidence gives credence to the thought that the plaintiff brought the case to him as opposed to the idea that he initiated it.

          JMO

        3. Bill Marshall

          Your point, Dave, gets to the heart of what district elections may/will do, and gets to the possibility of expensive legal challenges as to how districts are drawn, and how often they must be updated… proponents of the concept are in denial as to consequences… just look @ stats on this thread as to trends in near time…

          Guess some of the posters on the VG are “right”… if no new residential development, the updating will be less of a ‘problem’… will make a couple/several of regular posters happy… more ammunition/spaghetti to justify ‘stasis’… whatever…

        4. Hiram Jackson

          Matt Williams: “BTW, the City of Woodland votes by districts, but it appears that the Woodland JUSD votes at-large.”

          Woodland JUSD votes by district (they call them Areas).

          “If both jurisdictions stick to 5 Board/Council members, will their district boundaries be close to identical or rather different?”

          There are various parts of the DJUSD attendance area that are outside of the city limits — El Macero, Willowbank, Binning, Davis Creek (formerly Royal Oak) mobile home park, and at least one other development north of Davis, just west of 113 whose name escapes me.

  8. Eric Gelber

    One question:  if there were a referendum on doing this and it did not pass, would that still leave us in the same legal area where an out of towner like Rexroad could file and possibly prevail in his lawsuit?

    If you’re asking if a local jurisdiction can violate the CVRA if the voters approve, the answer is no. As to Rexroad’s residence, he is the attorney for prospective plaintiffs, not a party. His residence is irrelevant.

    1. Bill Marshall

      … prospective plaintiffs…

      Interesting term… in layman’s terms, is that like ‘a little bit pregnant’?  Half-kidding…

      Isn’t a ‘prospective plaintiff’ pretty much anyone on anything?  Second ? is ‘for reals’…

      1. Eric Gelber

        pro·spec·tive

        /prəˈspektiv/

        adjective

        “(of a person) expected or expecting to be something particular in the future.”

        A person on whose behalf a demand letter is sent with the stated intent of initiating a lawsuit if the demand is not met or the matter is not otherwise settled is a “prospective plaintiff.” Rexroad describes his clients as prospective plaintiffs in his demand letter.

      2. Alan Miller

        … prospective plaintiffs…

        Is that maybe kinda sorta like a vaguely-defined guy who doesn’t live in Davis suing over a certain housing project over racial implications because he might live in Davis some day?

  9. Alan Miller

    if it’s just done on geography, the dynamics of the council will likely change.

    Here are my suggestions for district boundaries:

     1. South Davis (south of I-80).
    2. West Davis (west of 113)
     3. East Davis (east of n/s rail line, north of e/w rail line)
    4. North-Central (between 113 and n/s rail line, north of e/w rail line)
    5. Olive Drive (tiny wedge between 113 and e/w rail line)

    and . . .

    And (3) Ex-officio members:

    6. Binning Tract
    7. El Macero
    8. Old Willowbank

    The above get to make a lot of noise, but not vote.

    And also there’s Rancho Yolo, which will be paved-over so a bike path can be built across it.

    1. Alan Miller

      And now, people of the People’s Republic of Davis, take my five basic districts above, and redraw them by RACE.  Remember, only ONE district can be drawn in such a way that it will result in a White-or-Asian-or-Jewish (“unprotected class”) council-member, and that district will be called “Privilegeville”.

      Do you have your crayons ready children?   On your marks, get set . . . GO!   And don’t get your little arses sued by any bad, bad lawyers!!!    Johnny, put away that “Flesh” colored crayon!  Where did you get that?!?!?

    1. Alan Miller

      The big deal “here” (as in, inside my brain), is:

      1) the method by which this is happening (extortion by lawyer);

      2) that the so-called solution almost certain will not address the so-called problem;

      3) Davis is a small town without radically distinct districts, most especially that house particular ‘types’ of people;

      4) Issues that affect one part of Davis pretty much affect everyone since we are a relatively small town (compared to an Oakland or a Sac where district election may make some sense).

      5) The Vanguard is for it, so I’m against it (that isn’t really a reason, it just happens to be the case 80% of the time).

      6) I am open the idea, but skeptical, that there will be enough qualified candidates running in each so-called ‘district’ to really have competitive races and not just one qualified candidate running against a furry dachshund.

      7) It may actually backfire and create semi-permanent ‘whitesvilles’ in newer, higher-priced parts of town.

      8) Changing the system is going to cost money, probably without the so-called ‘desired outcome’.

      9) The City must stand up to extortion, lest extortion shape government policy.

      10) In a town our size, I don’t want 4 out of 5 council-members potentially thinking when a member of the public speaks or writes an email, “I don’t have to listen to them, they don’t vote for me and I don’t represent them.”

      11) Only one councilmember will represent downtown.

      12) Councilmembers wll have to form little coalitions to trade political favors to each other to get projects done in their part of town.

      13) There is no #13.

      1. David Greenwald

        The problem is that you can call this extortion, it’s really statewide legislation rather than litigation forcing this move.

        — Point two is not proven to be accurate.

        — Point three has also not been demonstrated with data – I think there will be at least one district that does have a large percentage of minorities

        — Point four is not necessarily true given the fact that South Davis feels disenfranchised and I think people of color suffer different problems than others

        — Point five is probably your strongest

        — Point six I think is refuted by the experience in 2016 and 2018 by Woodland

        — I don’t know how it would do No.7

        — Not sure why it would cost money

        — I don’t see how they can prevail if they try and then it will cost more

        — I don’t think you have to worry about 10

        — Everyone is impacted by the downtown, perhaps it would have been to your advantage had there been a rep for Old East Davis and DOwntown

        — Not sure about 12

      2. Matt Williams

        Alan, as a preface to the point-by-pont comment I make below, may I suggest that rather than channeling Trump’s “attacking the alternative” approach, may I suggest that you transform your remarks into a “championing a better alternative” approach.  It is very clear to me that your antipathy for redistricting is because you see ranked-choice voting as a far superior solution.  However, if a non-regular reader of the Vanguard were to read your 13-point comment above, the thought of ranked-choice voting would never cross their mind.

        So, my challenge to you is to educate us on the merits of ranked-choice voting.  I’m all ears.  I believe lots of others are willing listeners as well.

      3. Matt Williams

        Alan,

        1) Extortion by plaintiff is more accurate IMO, although extortion by Legislators is also more accurate

        2) It will address it.  The unknown is how well.  Your bias for your preferred solution is evident in how you worded this point … in essence taking a page from the Trump attack first playbook.

        3) Which is why considering more than 5 Council districts/members has some resonance. Your concern about Downtown-specific representation would also be more-easily addressed if the number of districts increased.

        4) Debatable

        7) In the current “get to 3” system we effectively already have that.

        8) Less money than the legal fight

        9) Make an appointment with the Governor and our State Reps.  They are the extortionists … and they already have shaped government policy on this topic.

        10) That is a “glass half empty” perspective. Here is the “glass half full” perspective based on my observations of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors over the years. Issues they deal with fall into two categories, 1) county-wide and 2) focused. The dialogue and homework done by the individual Supes on 1) is unchanged. For 2) there is a division of labor. For the most part the Supes assume the Board member whose district is concerned about the focused issue will do more in-depth homework/research on the focused issue and when the discussion of the issue begins after the Staff presentation, the “concerned” Supe is the first to weigh in with the concerns/thoughts of the residents of that most-affected district. Bottom-line, all the Supes absolutely do listen, do ask questions, and for the most part defer to the guidance of the Supe of the “concerned” district.

        11) See 3) above

        12) Again a “glass half empty” perspective, but with that said, in the current “get to 3” system we effectively already have that.

        13) Agreed

        1. Bill Marshall

          Extortion from undisclosed “potential plaintiffs”… so much for transparency and/or honesty… as undisclosed, no way of knowing what they would specifically propose as “the problem”, nor a remedy that would prevent them from continuing to be “potential plaintiffs”… I think that any specific district boundary proposal would be much tougher to defend than the “at large” ‘problem’ (if it exists, except in theory)… but the district thing will clearly happen… those who support it, should “own it”, if time shows that the operation was a success, but the patient died.

        2. Matt Williams

          Bill, once again you are sounding like your nemesis.

          Your initial complaint is with how the court systems work.  This particular court process isn’t doing anything out of the ordinary.

          I would suggest that you issue a public challenge to the plaintiff to “Be transparent!  Let the community know who you are!”

          I also think you are making much too much (like your nemesis would) of the specific district boundary legal vulnerability.  The reason I believe that is that California has implemented very specific guidelines for how to handle the evaluation of factors and metrics in a redistricting/districting process.  It has also extensively tested those guidelines, and in fact the Statewide Redistricting Committee is/was chaired by a Davis resident.  Bottom-line, I think you are channeling FDR in this concern.

          For me, your challenge to “own it” is heard and accepted.

        3. Matt Williams

          We absolutely ARE in the court system.  We aren’t “at trial” yet, but we certainly are in the pre-trial phase.

          I would agree with your point if the Legislature hadn’t passed the governing law, and the Governor hadn’t signed into effect that governing law.  But the reality is that they did and he did.

        4. Alan Miller

          in essence taking a page from the Trump attack first playbook.

          Note:  In the modern era, Godwin’s Law applies to references to Donald Trump as well.

        5. Matt Williams

          Again agreed Alan.

          P.S. I’d like to convene a meeting of Pancakes and Politics in the near future  to plan for the 2020 elections.  I’ll send out a group e-mail.  Please be on the lookout for it.

  10. Bill Marshall

    Which is why considering more than 5 Council districts/members has some resonance

    Hybrids are all the rage for cars… I think there would be much less chance for paralysis, back door deals, etc., is we went to 5 folk from districts, and 2 “at-large”.  A ‘modest proposal’ as it were… that’s how we do elections for reps for US House, and Senate…

    Will be interesting if we come up with ‘gerrymandered’ districts… bet there is a 50/50 chance of that…

  11. Bill Marshall

    The other interesting thing is that the “push” is full court for implementation by Nov 2020… before the City has official Census results… plus new residential projects in the pipeline that won’t likely fully kick in until 2022… expect demands for “re-apportionment”, under threats from “potential plaintiffs” by 2025…

    Key is, it’s likely going to happen, and at this point, we will have districts by Nov 2020… to be consistent with the governing (flawed) law, there should be 5 CC seats open on that ballot… 3 for 4-year terms, 2 for two-year terms… all by districts… As 3 of the terms end on June 30, 2020, and under the arguments proposed by several (including Rexroad in his letter) on here, where we can have no further valid CC elections except under districts (so forget March 2020), come July 1, 2020, we’ll have two legitimate CC members… folk have been so focused on the ‘theory’, and pretty much no one on the ‘mechanics’…

    But, the die is cast… it is what it is…

      1. Bill Marshall

        ????…

        oh… the “or more“?  Might have been cool if you highlighted the distinction…

        How many? Since you have posited more than 5… seems like fair question, given your questioning of my post.  7? 9? 11? 13? more?

        Please share… all district, or a hybrid where some are at large?

        Will assume you agree all CC members/seats, regardless of #, should be subject to election Nov 2020… you did not take exception to that part of my post.  Am assuming you agree to that posit…

        Also, have to assume you agree that come July 1, we have 2 CC members… CC cannot extend terms, methinks… they can, on majority vote, truncate them.  You did not say that, but you took no exception to that part of my posit.  If they can extend, would appreciate Muni Code or State Law cites to that effect… I might be incorrect, but am thinking, not…

        1. Matt Williams

          It is not up to me to decide what the right number is.  That decision is for a public process.  The logic behind some number more than 5 is that the number of residents per district gets smaller, and (following the provisions of the rules that created the California Redistricting process) creating districts that provide greater representation is easier.

          I’m not smart enough or experienced enough to give an informed answer to the all district, or a hybrid where some are at large question.  Think of me as John Houseman chasing paper and being Socratic.

          When you assume …       it is worth repeating that I’m not smart enough or experienced enough to give an informed answer to any of the questions in your final two questions.  Those are questions for smart and experienced professionals with the proper creds.

           

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