News

Pleasanton City Council to hold first public hearing on creating districts

The Pleasanton City Council on Tuesday will hold the first legally mandated public hearing before it can draw districts and switch from at-large to district elections.

On Sept. 21, the council formally decided to transition to district elections, which means the city is divided into districts, with each area being represented by a council member residing inside.

The position of mayor will remain at-large and elected by the entire city.

California law mandates the city holds at least two public meetings within 30 days of one another before any district map can be drawn. The city is encouraging the public to give its input.

A staff report for Tuesday's meeting says the city will spend $50,000 for outside legal counsel and a demographer to assist the making boundaries. Based on the council's direction and public input, the demographer will draft one or more maps to bring back to the council for final approval.

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The law requires each district to have roughly the same population. Race can't be the predominant factor and, to the extent practicable, districts should be geographically contiguous and respect the geographic integrity of any local neighborhood or local community of interest.

State law also says district boundaries can't be drawn to favor one political party.

Other public hearings will be held Jan. 18 and Feb. 3. The final map would likely be voted on at the Feb. 24 council meeting. The transition will be done in time for the 2022 elections.

The Pleasanton City Council will meet virtually at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The meeting can be viewed on the city's YouTube channel or by going to the city's Zoom channel.

In other business

** A proposed initiative to amend the California State Constitution in regard to land use or zoning is scheduled for a council discussion on Tuesday night.

Known as Initiative 21-0016, the proposed amendment "provides that city and county land use and zoning laws override all conflicting state laws," with three noted exceptions, according to a staff report. Included are circumstances related to the California Coastal Act of 1976; the siting of power plants; and development of water, communication, or transportation infrastructure projects.

The final initiative submitted to the State Attorney General's Office in September "prevents the state legislature and local legislative bodies from passing laws invalidating voter-approved local land-use or zoning initiatives," according to staff, and "prohibits the state from changing, granting, or denying funding to local governments based on their implementation of this measure."

Following a review, staff said the city's "key advocacy partner" the League of California Cities has recommended adopting a "no" stance on the initiative. Noted in Cal Cities' initial analysis "is one area of concern relative to the language in the initiative's preamble."

Cal Cities said "the expressed intent of the voters is not clearly stated in the Constitutional amendment text," and that "further study and assessment is needed to address outstanding questions as to how the initiative impacts CEQA, FEHA, prohibition on discrimination, and the requirement to affirmatively furthering fair housing."

When considering adopting a position, staff said council members "will necessarily want to fully understand the consequences of passage of this initiative from multiple perspectives," and that "

retaining local control in decision making — particularly as it relates to housing — is of primary importance to the city."

"It is also beneficial to consider when the state's role is primary in requiring accountability and adherence to the same housing regulations," staff added, such as what recourse the city would have "if a neighboring city or region determines it doesn't want to comply with a state law and passes a superseding local ordinance which then has a negative impact on our city."

The city's adopted legislative framework advises their response to proposed legislation and process for advocacy efforts concerning proposed or pending legislation, but "does not provide guidance for the city taking a position on a proposed ballot initiative."

While the council is not prohibited from taking a position on ballot initiatives, staff said "past practice has generally been to refrain from taking a position on initiatives until the initiative is formally placed on the ballot."

Staff has recommended that the council "refrain from taking any action or position at this time," as "this would allow additional time for city staff to work with Cal Cities to further study the initiative and determine if there are any unintended consequences related to this ballot measure."

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Pleasanton City Council to hold first public hearing on creating districts

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 9:34 am
Updated: Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 6:56 pm

The Pleasanton City Council on Tuesday will hold the first legally mandated public hearing before it can draw districts and switch from at-large to district elections.

On Sept. 21, the council formally decided to transition to district elections, which means the city is divided into districts, with each area being represented by a council member residing inside.

The position of mayor will remain at-large and elected by the entire city.

California law mandates the city holds at least two public meetings within 30 days of one another before any district map can be drawn. The city is encouraging the public to give its input.

A staff report for Tuesday's meeting says the city will spend $50,000 for outside legal counsel and a demographer to assist the making boundaries. Based on the council's direction and public input, the demographer will draft one or more maps to bring back to the council for final approval.

The law requires each district to have roughly the same population. Race can't be the predominant factor and, to the extent practicable, districts should be geographically contiguous and respect the geographic integrity of any local neighborhood or local community of interest.

State law also says district boundaries can't be drawn to favor one political party.

Other public hearings will be held Jan. 18 and Feb. 3. The final map would likely be voted on at the Feb. 24 council meeting. The transition will be done in time for the 2022 elections.

The Pleasanton City Council will meet virtually at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The meeting can be viewed on the city's YouTube channel or by going to the city's Zoom channel.

In other business

** A proposed initiative to amend the California State Constitution in regard to land use or zoning is scheduled for a council discussion on Tuesday night.

Known as Initiative 21-0016, the proposed amendment "provides that city and county land use and zoning laws override all conflicting state laws," with three noted exceptions, according to a staff report. Included are circumstances related to the California Coastal Act of 1976; the siting of power plants; and development of water, communication, or transportation infrastructure projects.

The final initiative submitted to the State Attorney General's Office in September "prevents the state legislature and local legislative bodies from passing laws invalidating voter-approved local land-use or zoning initiatives," according to staff, and "prohibits the state from changing, granting, or denying funding to local governments based on their implementation of this measure."

Following a review, staff said the city's "key advocacy partner" the League of California Cities has recommended adopting a "no" stance on the initiative. Noted in Cal Cities' initial analysis "is one area of concern relative to the language in the initiative's preamble."

Cal Cities said "the expressed intent of the voters is not clearly stated in the Constitutional amendment text," and that "further study and assessment is needed to address outstanding questions as to how the initiative impacts CEQA, FEHA, prohibition on discrimination, and the requirement to affirmatively furthering fair housing."

When considering adopting a position, staff said council members "will necessarily want to fully understand the consequences of passage of this initiative from multiple perspectives," and that "

retaining local control in decision making — particularly as it relates to housing — is of primary importance to the city."

"It is also beneficial to consider when the state's role is primary in requiring accountability and adherence to the same housing regulations," staff added, such as what recourse the city would have "if a neighboring city or region determines it doesn't want to comply with a state law and passes a superseding local ordinance which then has a negative impact on our city."

The city's adopted legislative framework advises their response to proposed legislation and process for advocacy efforts concerning proposed or pending legislation, but "does not provide guidance for the city taking a position on a proposed ballot initiative."

While the council is not prohibited from taking a position on ballot initiatives, staff said "past practice has generally been to refrain from taking a position on initiatives until the initiative is formally placed on the ballot."

Staff has recommended that the council "refrain from taking any action or position at this time," as "this would allow additional time for city staff to work with Cal Cities to further study the initiative and determine if there are any unintended consequences related to this ballot measure."

Comments

Michael Austin
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 3, 2022 at 8:55 pm
Michael Austin , Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 3, 2022 at 8:55 pm

Don't know how districts will be determined. But, per the law stated in this article it seems the following scenario would be plausible.

Pleasanton has twenty-four square miles. Pleasanton has population of approximately 80,000 people. The mayor represents everyone.

Assuming there will be four districts when the map is completed. One district for reach council member. Each council member will represent six square miles with 20,000 people.

Because there cannot be two council members representing the same district, two current council members will be out of a job if the maps are drawn up per the law.

I challenge all current council members and the mayor to weigh in here with commentary. This is a public forum, and public discussion on this new districting is required by law. If you do not weigh in here, you are not following the law.


Robertbush81
Registered user
Mohr Park
on Jan 4, 2022 at 10:16 am
Robertbush81, Mohr Park
Registered user
on Jan 4, 2022 at 10:16 am

This seems like an unnecessary activity. From eliminating/overriding single family residential zoning, to mandating planning for overbuilding/congestion, to whatever this is intended to do, the state seems to want to turn the suburbs into a dense urban structure in my opinion. Not a fan.


Rich Buckley
Registered user
Livermore
on Jan 4, 2022 at 10:27 am
Rich Buckley, Livermore
Registered user
on Jan 4, 2022 at 10:27 am

To the extent possible I sense a community of Pleasanton's size yields more sensitive, listening, government by increase the number of council persons and districts from 4 plus one mayor up to 6 plus one mayor. Then create a district pattern that circles old town as much as possible with the old town component placed in the hands of one of the 6 districts.

All the council people want to carve out and have a piece of the old down. My advice is forget it. Go to 6 + Mayor and try to get the old town under the wing of one council district.

The first item that should be considered is, should we use this opportunity and time to create 6 districts plus 1 mayor at large.

Otherwise what you will get is baited and switched by councils that don't listen. They will speak stolen words of sincerity, sound great in campaigns, and immediately become captured by all the old power players, as soon as they are elected. Whereas the closer you make your council to the district (by reducing the number of persons in their district) the more sensitive the elected council person remains after elected.

No one will listen to this advice and act on it. I perfectly understand. But there you have it. 6 not 4 will give you more.


Michael Austin
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 4, 2022 at 11:12 am
Michael Austin , Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 4, 2022 at 11:12 am

Previously termed out council members can now run again for council to serve their district. They previously ran and served as at large candidate.


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