Fullerton City Council Set to Decide on Voting Districts Map

The Fullerton City Council is expected to select a district map Tuesday that will be on the ballot in November when residents will decide whether to move the city to a council-district electoral system.

David Ely, of Compass Demographics, has drawn up several different maps for the council’s consideration. Ely has also been working with Garden Grove and Anaheim in their shift towards district-based elections.

The move towards district-based voting is the result of a settlement reached last July after the American Civil Liberties Union and Asian Americans Advancing Justice sued the city, alleging that the current at-large electoral system disenfranchises Asian Americans and other minorities.

The city is 22.8 percent Asian and 34.4 percent Latino, according to the 2010 Census.

Since public outreach began last September, at least 5 members of the public have also submitted maps that will be examined by the council.

At the April 19 meeting, a map favored by nearly every resident who spoke during the public hearing was presented to the council. Working alongside Ely, resident Jeanette Vazquez drew the map, which also garnered support from the plaintiffs. Vazquez’ original map was modified through the rounds of community hearings the city held on the issue.

(The final version, map “2B” can be viewed here.)

The final public hearing and the city’s decision on district voting is scheduled to happen shortly after 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers located at 303 W. Commonwealth Ave.

Spencer Custodio is a Voice of OC intern. Please contact him at Scustodio21@csu.fullerton.edu.

  • Jane Rands

    Public Hearing continued to June 7 to consider revisions to public submissions 2B, 8, 10, and 11.

  • Jane Rands

    Sam Han just stated that the 5000 member congregation of Grace Ministries supports Popov’s gerrymander-mania.

    • David Zenger

      Um…is this really any of the Churches business?

  • Jane Rands

    We just had a load of bar owners arguing in support of Jeremy Popov’s submission 8 that divides DTF into 5 districts. It painfully gerrymanders every district to touch Harbor Blvd between Chapman and Commonwealth. Of course it has legal issues as the demographer David Ely pointed out. But the owner of Branigans doesn’t think legal issues should get in the way of DTF. They are brilliant folks those bar owners.

    • RyanCantor

      That was really odd. Can’t say I saw that coming.

      I really don’t understand their argument. Every district needs a symbolic stake in downtown? Why?

      The ONLY thing map 8 does is crack the downtown district into five parts, which assures that a downtown resident will never sit on the dais.

      A cynic might say that’s the entire point.

      • Jane Rands

        Cynic or a fella that just hit the nail smack dab? (Sorry I’ve been reading Woodhouse.)
        It’s counter to maintaining communities of interest. I don’t know how it could pass legal muster.

        • David Zenger

          Wouldn’t want a real downtown resident trying to put a curb on Popov and his cohorts’ open air booze court.

    • David Zenger

      Jeremy Popov? Excellent! What a talented guy.

  • Fullerton Rag

    Weak story. If you’re going to write about the issue, take a look at the maps and note dissent. 2B is being presented as a “consensus” map, even though some of the handful of people who worked on it don’t live in the city. Submission 10 is much better, and addresses Dave Zenger’s points made in his comments above.

    Follow this link to an alternative story by someone not even getting paid for it:


    • David Zenger

      Compactness should be a goal of effective “districting.”

      “10” creates 2 long skinny districts. “Downtown” joins everything from Raymond way out west to the Airport. “Southwest” is also too long and splits south central Fullerton. Hillcrest loses compactness completely out in the northeast..

      2b would would work quite nicely if the area described by 3 and 5 were divided north/south at Raymond instead of east west as currently devised. That would keep south central together and make southwest and east districts comparatively compact.

      • Jane Rands

        There are other considerations. Primarily creating a single district in which there is a plurality of Voting age Latinos based on the demographer David Ely’s analysis. However, the analysis is not available in a comprehensive form for you or anyone attempting to draw a district map to reference.

        This process has been an unguided mess I suspect because of the poor legal advice that recommended that the City Council not participate in any of the process when all they were asked to do was not speak disparagingly of district elections.

        • David Zenger

          Yes, I get the “considerations.” You have to create minority majority/plurality districts without saying so. It’s a funny dance around forthright discussion. I bet the districts I described would create one or two Latino majority/plurality districts, two white ones and one Asian one – which is pretty close to Fullerton’s ethnological profile.

          The benefits of compactness are representation of true neighborhood interest regardless of race and a sense of propriety when looking at a map (that the districts haven’t been gerrymandered to appease someone or to cook up a preordained conclusion). This confers authenticity and authority on the process.

          Otherwise you just have…a mess.

          Anyway, good luck. The Old Guard doesn’t want districts at all.

  • David Zenger

    Districts 3 and 5 make no sense at all. 3 combines downtown with the neighborhood east of the 57? 5 combines south central with Chapman Park? They’re separated by two miles of industrial zoned no-man’s land.

    Instead there should be a north/south dividing line for these areas running down Raymond. East is District 5, West is District 3.

    I still don’t understand this process. If the people vote the map down, they have to start over – or get sued again. Something’s not right here.

    • Jane Rands

      Dave, check out public submission
      7 by Cantor and mine, submission 10 based on Cantor’s map. We have resolved that oddity.

      I have been talking to the plaintiff group about the inappropriateness of combining DTF with CSUF since prior to the map being unveiled at the last of the second set of 4 community meetings in early March. No changes have been considered. I talked to Jeanette Vasquez, Daniel Bravo, and Jonathan Paik but was told that there was a group of people at one of the community meetings that decided this was the best alignment.

      It’s not necessarily the best alignment for communities of interest within the downtown area or CSUF for that matter. The real driving force behind these boundaries was the ability to create a Latino Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) with a significant enough advantage over the white CVAP in the district.

      The Latino population is well dispersed throughout the more highly populated areas of Fullerton, mostly towards the south including DTF. That’s why Cantor created a map to keep DTF whole and separate from CSUF while providing a Latino Voting Age plurality in his downtown district. I just kicked his up a notch to create a Latino plurality in the district. But now I hear the split between the white and Latino CVAP in my map is not enough to appease I guess the plaintiffs.

      But of course this will be argued amicably at council tonight without touching on that issue. Because you see, the Federal Voting Rights Act does not allow districts boundaries to be drawn based predominately on race.

    • Jane Rands

      To address your point that if an objectionable map is included in the ballot measure then people who might otherwise support district elections might not vote to support the combined question in November, this is a concern I have voiced to the pro-district activists. And you are correct that if fails at the ballot box it will go to costly litigation.

      The City Council is in a pickle, to fulfill the settlement, they have to select a map that will appease the plaintiffs. But they must also select a map that will appease the voters so that the voters can do their part to fulfill the settlement and vote in favor of district elections.

      I think a bit of compromise and some real honest discussions needs to be had at this point.

      • David Zenger

        Your process is backward and, frankly, a cynic might suspect temporizing on the part of decision makers.

        Even my city, Anaheim, got the process right: approve the concept of districts and their number, then let the city council choose the best map. It’s going to be political anyway.

        (Of course in Anaheim the council had to be dragged kicking and screaming and litigating to get that initial vote, Then they had to be coerced into approving an okay map – they were temporizing hard!)

        The problem with offering a map to the public is that anybody with a gripe about this or that line will vote no on the whole thing. One option is to offer two or three plans and have the one with the most votes win – although that may not please the plaintiffs.