PETALUMA IS TRANSITIONING TO DISTRICT ELECTIONS
Petaluma is transitioning to district elections to maximize the opportunity of all City voters to elect their preferred candidates to the City Council. This is a significant change in how Petalumans will vote for City Council representatives. For district elections, Petaluma will be mapped into six districts of nearly equal population. Voters in each district will vote for one eligible candidate to represent them on the City Council. The Mayor will continue to be elected at-large by all City voters.
MAP SELECTED BY CITY COUNCIL FOR FINAL APPROVAL
Along with the four prior public hearings, on March 7, 2022 City Council held Public Hearing #5 for both the Council and members of the public to review draft district maps and information provided by staff about the map features. They then walked through the remaining steps in the district transition process, including the potential sequencing of the district elections. At last week’s hearing, the City Council reviewed a selection of maps and chose one for final approval: Map Draft Plan 2 – Idea Consolidation 2 was selected.
At their March 21, 2022 meeting, the City Council is scheduled to conduct the first of two public hearings on a district elections ordinance, including the district election sequencing. The City Council is scheduled to introduce the ordinance on March 21, 2022 and to adopt the ordinance on April 4, 2022. Adoption of the ordinance will be the final step in completing our District Elections transition.
The District Elections ordinance will specify which three districts will be the first to elect district representatives in 2022, and which three districts will elect district representatives in 2024. The mayor will continue to be elected by all city voters, which is scheduled for this November.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE CURRENT CITY COUNCIL?
The City’s transition to district elections does not affect the terms of City Council members.
- The three Council members whose seats are not up for reelection in 2022 will continue to serve as at-large City Council members until the 2024 election.
- The three Council members whose seats are up for reelection in 2022 can only run for reelection if they live in a district that is sequenced to elect a representative in 2022.
WHAT IS SEQUENCING?
The district elections ordinance that the Council adopts will specify which districts will be the first three to elect district representatives in 2022, and which three districts will elect district representatives in 2024. The Mayoral seat will continue as an at-large seat, and be elected in 2022.
The City Council will discuss and choose sequencing at the public hearing on March 21, 2022. The California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) provides some guidance about which new voting districts should elect their representatives first. The purposes of the CVRA include eliminating minority vote dilution to give members of a protected class an equal opportunity to elect the candidates of their choice.
To provide your input on this transition, you are invited to attend the Public Hearing this coming Monday, March 21 at 6:30pm. The link to join via Zoom can be found on the District Elections webpage and by clicking here.