One speaker at by-district hearing

THE PROCESS of converting from at-large city council elections to by-district voting advanced Wednesday with the first public hearing at the Westminster City Council (Shutterstock).

The first public hearing on the move to a by-district process for electing city council members attracted just one person to Wednesday night’s meeting of the Westminster council.

Terry Rains addressed the council, saying “I’m in favor of going to districts, but only if it’s done right.” She went on to say that the districts should not be done to favor incumbents. “The council should adopt a map that’s in the best interests of all Westminster residents,” she added.

Before the brief public hearing, the council was given some background on the process by Jeff Tilton, representing consultant National Demographics Corpotation. He told them that if the decision is made to have the mayor elected by the public at-large and four districts, each district would consist of about 22,000 people, and no racial “gerrymandering” is permitted.

He did take note of the fact the certain ethnic groups tended to gather together geographically. The city’s “white” population tended to locate in the northwestern portion of the community, while Hispanic residents are in the central and northeastern part of Westminster.

According to Tilton, Asians – primarily Vietnamese – are located in the southern part of the city. Vietnamese-Americans represented about 50 percent of the voting-age population, with Hispanics at 17 percent and whites and others the balance.

Additional public hearings and community meetings are scheduled. The next hearing is set for Tuesday, Oct. 29 at a special council meeting at 6:30 p.m.

For more details on those events, go to: https://www.westminster-ca.gov/our_city/depts/cityclerk/election/district_based_elections.asp .

Also on Wednesday night, the council approved a revised policy of rules of decorum and civility for city council meetings. The policy was continued from the meeting of Oct. 9.


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