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File #: 18-1025   
Type: Report to Council Status: Public Hearing/General Business
Meeting Body: City Council
On agenda: 11/20/2018
Title: Adoption of Resolution Declaring the City of Sunnyvale's Intent to Transition from At-Large to District-Based City Council Elections, Outlining Specific Steps to be Undertaken to Facilitate the Transition, and Estimating a Time Frame for Action Pursuant to Elections Code Section 10010
Attachments: 1. Draft Resolution, 2. Certified Letter from GBDH, 3. September 5, 2018 Report to Council
Related files: 19-0361
REPORT TO COUNCIL

SUBJECT
Title
Adoption of Resolution Declaring the City of Sunnyvale's Intent to Transition from At-Large to District-Based City Council Elections, Outlining Specific Steps to be Undertaken to Facilitate the Transition, and Estimating a Time Frame for Action Pursuant to Elections Code Section 10010
Report

BACKGROUND
On September 5, 2018, the City Council held a public hearing regarding changing from the City's current at-large with numbered seats system for electing City Council members to a district-based form of elections (RTC No. 18-0776). Council directed staff to scope a public outreach and education plan for receiving public input on transitioning to district-based elections, with the goal of placing a measure on the November 2020 ballot for voters to decide whether to amend the City Charter to change from at-large with numbered seats to district-based elections. Staff has hired a public outreach consultant, Placeworks Inc., to assist the City in developing a community education and outreach plan, which will be presented to Council on December 11, 2018.

On October 9, 2018, the City received a certified letter from attorney Laura Ho of the law firm Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho, alleging that the City's current electoral system violates the California Voting Rights Act ("CVRA") because it "dilutes the voting power of Asian American voters." The City Attorney met with Ms. Ho the week following receipt of the letter, and has had ongoing discussions over the past month. The City Council also met in closed session three times to discuss the potential litigation and options for settlement. Although the demand letter commended the City for initiating steps to transition to district based elections and purported to offer extensions to timeframes set forth in the CVRA "safe harbor" legislation, the parties have thus far been unable to reach agreement on specific terms for a stipulation on extended timeframes or settlement.

Adopting this r...

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