Legislative Public Meetings

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File #: 19-0361   
Type: Report to Council Status: Passed
Meeting Body: City Council
On agenda: 3/19/2019
Title: Adoption of Resolution Amending Resolution No. 907-18 (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 10100) to State the City's Intent to Place a Measure on the March 2020 Ballot Proposing to Amend City of Sunnyvale Charter Section 601 and Provide Direction to Staff Regarding Scientific Polling.
Attachments: 1. Resolution No. 907-18, 2. Draft Resolution to Resolution No. 907-18
Related files: 18-1059, 18-1025, 18-0776, 19-0044, 19-1168
REPORT TO COUNCIL

SUBJECT
Title
Adoption of Resolution Amending Resolution No. 907-18 (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 10100) to State the City's Intent to Place a Measure on the March 2020 Ballot Proposing to Amend City of Sunnyvale Charter Section 601 and Provide Direction to Staff Regarding Scientific Polling.

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.

On October 9, 2018, the City received a certified letter from attorney Laura Ho of the law firm Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho, alleging on behalf of potential plaintiff Samir Kalra that the City's current electoral system violates the California Voting Rights Act ("CVRA") because it "dilutes the voting power of Asian American voters."

On November 20, 2018, the City Council adopted a resolution of intent to change to district-based elections pursuant to Elections Code section 10010, triggering a 90-day "safe harbor" period during which the City could not be sued (Attachment 1). That resolution restated the Council's prior direction to change to district based elections and identified possible election dates of March 2020 or November 2020 for amending the City Charter to allow for by-district elections. The Council did not make a final determination abou...

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