The city of Soledad is considering elections by district | Salinas Valley Tribune



SOLEDAD – Members of Soledad City Council discussed the need for elections in the districts last month.

No action was taken at the June 16 meeting, but a presentation from Mayor Brentsrama was followed by a discussion on when such a change would be needed.

Mr Srama said he met Mayor Anna Velázquez on April 15 with members of LULAC to discuss this item, and said his presentation followed up on this discussion.

Soledad currently uses a large voting system and was founded 100 years ago. The system allows any inhabitant to vote for a candidate for the municipal council.

In a district-based system, voters can only vote for candidates for their district council. The city’s electoral system was not without change.

“For the first time in 2004, we elected the mayor directly,” Srama said. “Before that, it was a promise between the board members.

Slamah explained that only Salinas and King City use the Salinas Valley district-based electoral system, but Greenfield recently decided to engage in district elections for the next election in 2022. Passed.

He said the encouragement to change the system came from legal challenges that could stem from the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) passed in 2001. The election result. Such results would resemble racially polarized election results.

“One of the biggest concerns we have at the local level regarding the transition to regional elections is whether we can compete for the elections in these districts,” Srama said.

Switching to a district is the only way to legally guarantee that the electoral system cannot be challenged under the provisions of the CVRA, Srama said. The mayor is a seat that expresses the will of the inhabitants of the whole city, so he can stay great.

Further, the concern of Srama and the council was the division of motives that might arise from the district.

“The mayor and I discussed how we could lead more people because when people are involved in the process it is important to show them that they have choices. I think that’s why, ”Slama said.

Councilor Maricella Lara also commented on this point, stating that she was not interested in continuing to run for city council and was elected by six written votes after no one showed up. Mentioned Carlos Victoria. His neighborhood.

Lara asked if the district would encourage more people to participate, as anything that promotes increased participation and more applicants would benefit.

Councilor Alejandro Chavez said a skewed turnout would weaken officials, with one getting six votes and the other 500. He called the King City example an experience that proved the situation could be disproportionate.

Councilor Ben Jimenez Jr. has expressed his desire to represent the old town of Soledad. He himself has been a resident of the city since 1973, and the other council members are not only newcomers, but also live in more recently developed areas.

“I am concerned about the more mature parts of town,” Jimenez said. “There’s no good wording there… the growth can be seen in these other new sections. We must always keep in mind where we come from.

He said the council’s goals should be aimed at the quality of life of everyone in the city, not just the few residents.

Srama explained that if a decision was made to move to a district, the city would hire a demographer to use the census data to divide the city into representative groups. He added that the city has not received any other official communication from LULAC or anyone regarding district voting.

“It will probably be a trend one day, as the city is expected to grow,” Slama said. “… As we grow older it is definitely a topic and more relevant.”

Lara agreed with a community survey to gauge interest.

Mayor Pro Tem Carla Strobridge also agreed with the community dialogue and recommended that this item be discussed annually.

“There’s a reason we’re here because we all love Soledad and want to make a difference for our people,” says Strobridge.

The city of Soledad is considering elections by district | Salinas Valley Tribune Source link City of Soledad plans district elections | Salinas Valley Tribune



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