City council selects Plan 701, will hold one more hearing Feb. 24 before adoption vote in March
The Goleta City Council Thursday evening unanimously picked the city’s first electoral districts map.
Up next is one more hearing this month, then a vote in March on whether to officially adopt the map. Approval would mark the first time in Goleta’s history that city council members are assigned to specific districts.
The council Thursday selected Plan 701, drafted by the National Demographers Corp. The map has the northwest district minimally crossing Highway 101 up to Hollister Avenue. It also puts Bishop Ranch into the northeast district, labeled District 3 on the map.
This plan proposes the two eastern districts up for election in 2022 with the western districts up for election in 2024. Two city council members will continue to serve at large until 2024.
The total population deviation for Plan 701 is 9.2%. Population deviation refers to the difference in population sizes among the districts.
Mayor Paula Perotte said she preferred Plan 701 because of its “simplicity.”
And Councilmember James Kyriaco said he wanted to keep the business parks on either side of Hollister Avenue in one district, which the proposal does.
“I like the idea of keeping Old Town with new tech,” Mr. Kyriaco said. “I like the continuity of that and the story it tells.”
The council had also considered Plan 206 during the special hearing Thursday evening. That plan put Bishop Ranch into what has been labeled District 1 with North Los Carneros Road serving as the boundary. But it also expanded District 2 further east to include business parks, Target and the post office.
Mayor Pro Tempore Stuart Kasdin said he preferred Plan 206 because he thought Bishop Ranch belonged in what was labeled District 1. He also said it would make more sense to keep Target in the same district with the Camino Real Marketplace — which Plan 206 would accomplish.
Mr. Kasdin conceded Plan 701 was “still a good map,” however, and voted for the proposal.
The next public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 24 with a plan to return on March 1 to formally adopt the map and election sequencing.
The effort to change how council members are elected began in 2017 with the city agreeing to draw a new district map in time for the November 2022 elections.
“A lot of things will be the same as they were” after redistricting, Kristy Schmidt, the assistant city manager, told the News-Press earlier this week. “Certainly from a staff standpoint, we’ve always taken direction from a majority of the city council and will continue to do so.”
“This is more of a political process than an operational process,” Ms. Schmidt said. “From the public’s point of view, it really is about representation and having perhaps a closer relationship with their representative on their council.”
According to a presentation given to the council Tuesday, districts must be drawn to include equal population — not to exceed a 10% adjustment — or the map could be declared unconstitutional. The presentation also noted that racial gerrymandering should be avoided.
Goleta first adopted its resolution of intent in May 2017 to transition from an at-large system to by-district system by the November 2022 elections — ensuring the 2020 census data could be utilized to draw more up-to-date maps.