Sat, Jan 07 2012 12:00 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampité
The Chula Vista Charter Review Commission held its fifth public outreach meeting Tuesday to see if residents are in favor of changing the method used to elect city officials.
Since August the Commission has held five meetings in the south, north and west, but Tuesday night they held their first meeting in east Chula Vista.
The city has approximately 240,000 residents who currently elect their representatives through an at-large election versus electing someone who lives in their neighborhood.
The task was directed by the City Council in June to tell them whether the public favors one election process over another.
Surveys handed out at each meeting ask: “Would you consider changing the method that is used to elect city officials? Yes, No or Maybe.”
City Attorney Glen Googins said districts would need to include the right mix of demographics so as to not disenfranchise any minority groups.
Rancho Del Rey resident Joann Fields strongly agrees with changing to districts to give better access to minority groups.
She is also concerned that the meetings are not adequately publicized or reaching minority populations such as Asians and Pacific Islanders.
“Asians and Pacific Islanders don’t have high numbers, but we could make an influence especially on the east side,” Fields said.
Filipinos make up 15 percent of Chula Vista’s population, according to Fields.
Fields, 40, said she found out about the meeting through the city’s Facebook page and did not see it advertised anywhere else.
“If no one knows about it, how can we make an informed decision?” she said. “Most of the City Council members live on the west side … We need to have a voice.”
Pedro Anaya, 34, grew up in Chula Vista and agrees with the creation of districts.
“There’s a way of doing business,” he said. “We should reach out to more than the status quo. In Chula Vista, the relationship building with constituents would significantly improve.”
The City Council budgeted $600,000 for the 2011-2012 fiscal year to put any initiative on the ballot. If the money is not used, it goes back into the general fund to be distributed for the next fiscal year.
Placing a measure on the June 2012 election ballot could cost $80,000 to $95,000 for a five-page proposition and up to $183,000 for an 18-page proposition, according to figures from the county’s registrar of voters.
Other possible future costs include reevaluating districts every 10 years.
Information from San Diego County states that it costs $483,000 for the entire redistricting process.
The commission will hold another public meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9, at Veteran’s Community Center.
On Jan. 18 the commission will meet and decide on a recommendation to give to the City Council, along with a report, during an early February meeting in time for the June general elections.
The link to the survey can be viewed on the home page of the city’s website, which will be open for the next two weeks.
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