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Tuesday June 7, 2022 — California Primary Election
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Local

City of Santa Clara
Measure D - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results

Passing

14,172 votes yes (78.7%)

3,835 votes no (21.3%)

96.6% of precincts reporting (28/29).

19,650 ballots counted

DISTRICT COUNCIL ELECTIONS. Shall the City Charter be amended to elect city council members by district, excepting the mayor, to establish six districts for the election of one council member to represent each district; and to establish a 30-day residency requirement for all elected officials?

What is this proposal?

Pros & Cons — Unbiased explanation with arguments for and against

Information provided by Information provided by the Leagues of Women Voters of Santa Clara County.

The Question

DISTRICT COUNCIL ELECTIONS.  Shall the City Charter be amended to elect city council members by district, excepting the mayor, to establish six districts for the election of one council member to represent each district; and to establish a 30-day residency requirement for all elected officials?

The Situation

Currently, the City of Santa Clara’s Charter provides that each candidate for City Council must run for a numbered seat and that every seat is voted on at-large, that is, by all voters in the entire city.  In December 2017, Santa Clara was named as a defendant in Yumori-Kaku, et al. v. City of Santa Clara on a charge of violating the California Voting Rights Act because of its at-large council elections.  In June 2018, with the trial underway but not ruled upon, the City of Santa Clara voters narrowly rejected a ballot measure to divide the City into two districts, each with three Council members.  The Santa Clara County Superior Court ruled in July and August 2018 that under the California Voting Rights Act, the City must be divided into six districts.  It ruled that in both the November 2018 and 2020 elections, a candidate for City Council should be elected only by voters from his/her home district, not by voters in the entire city.  The 2018 and 2020 elections for the position of Council Member were conducted in accordance with the Court’s judgment.

 

In November 2018 voters approved a measure to have a citizens’ committee study a Charter Amendment; thus City Council appointed a Charter Review Committee of citizens from across the City to recommend an amendment to the City Charter.  The Committee’s response was a proposal to set the number of districts at three instead of six, which was placed on the March 2020 ballot but rejected.  The August 2018 ruling that the City must be divided into six districts for the November 2018 and 2020 elections was upheld by the Sixth District Court of Appeal in December 2020.

 

The City’s Charter was not amended to reflect the “by-district” method of Council Member election.  Therefore in April 2021 the City and the Plaintiffs entered into a settlement agreement which included a requirement that the City Council place a measure on the ballot to seek voter approval of an amendment to the City Charter comporting to the terms of the Court’s judgment.  If voters do not approve this measure, the Settlement Agreement allows the Plaintiffs to seek further Court Order(s) to continue the six single-member district election process for future Council Member elections.      

The Proposal

Measure D proposes the following changes to the City Charter:

1.    Section 600:  Candidates for the position of Council Member must reside in the district represented by the office they seek to fill for at least thirty days prior to their filing of nomination papers.

2.    Section 700.1:  Establishes six single-member districts, with a district map previously adopted by the City Council and periodically amended by a redistricting process following each decennial Census.  Order of election shall be District 2 and 3 in 2022 (and periodic elections thereafter), and Districts 1, 4, 5 and 6 in 2024 (and periodic elections thereafter).

3.    Section 700.2:  Incumbent Council members shall complete the remainder of their elected terms after a redistricting process.

These proposed changes to the City Charter fulfill the requirements of the Court’s Judgment and the Settlement Agreement with the Plaintiffs in the Yumori-Kaku et al. litigation.

Fiscal effect

If approved, there would be no additional fiscal effect of this measure, other than administrative costs to revise the City Charter, since the elections of 2018 and 2020 have already followed these court-ordered rules.

Supporters say

Measure D would update the City Charter to be consistent with the Court ruling on Santa Clara council elections by district, protect the City from further litigation, and preserve the quality and diversity of candidates in elected office.
Your YES vote will retain the district system currently in place to ensure that all parts of Santa Clara are fairly represented on city council.  In addition to the geographic diversity, the move to districts also enabled minority candidates to have representation proportional to their population in the city.
With Measure D, residents will have easier access to council members who live in close proximity to their neighborhoods and understand the local issues.
Having to campaign throughout the entire city gave an inordinate advantage to incumbents and made it harder for new candidates to campaign effectively.  Keeping our six-district system will retain diversity of opinions, backgrounds, and neighborhoods as well as guard against influence from special interests by keeping campaign costs low.

Supporters :

Anthony J. Becker, Councilmember, City of Santa Clara

Raj Chahal, Councilmember, City of Santa Clara

Kevin Park, Councilmember, City of Santa Clara

 

 

A “YES” vote approves of the proposed changes to the City Charter.  The Charter language would reflect the “by-district” method used to elect the City’s Council Members.

Opponents say

No opposition argument was filed.

Unknown

 

 

A “NO” vote leaves the current Charter language describing an “at-large” election system in place, but could prompt further litigation to obtain Court Order(s) to continue the six single-member district election process for future Council member elections.

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