Four halves from three maps are on table
The six districts go into effect for November 2016 election
Council must also pick which districts go up for election first
Merced City Council is set to get its first public look at the potential districts for future elections, and at least one group made an eleventh-hour push in south Merced to get voters to the meeting Monday.
The presentation of the maps is scheduled during the meeting at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 678 W. 18th St. A closed session is set before that.
Communities for New California Education Fund, a local nonprofit, took volunteers around south Merced on Saturday to try to get residents to the council meeting, where they’ll have the opportunity to share their opinions on the maps.
The maps will change how local elections work in Merced by making six districts, which will each be represented by a council member. The idea is to give a more even representation to all parts of the city.
The Independent Districting Advisory Committee has endorsed four options for city maps, two dividing north Merced in different ways and two dividing south Merced. The City Council will have the option to choose either of the maps for each half of the city.
There has been some disagreement over whether the maps should prize neighborhoods or businesses.
The council will also need to decide which seats go up for election first, as they will need to be staggered. Three seats will be up every two years.
The district will also pit some of the councilmen against each other if they seek re-election, because all six live in north Merced. Exactly who might have to face off in a future election is yet to be determined and will depend on how the maps shake out.
The committee recommended to the council that two south Merced districts and one north district go up for election in November 2016.
That year will be a presidential election cycle, when voter turnout typically peaks.
The City Council was originally to see the maps last month, but the city had to advertise for public comment, which is part of the agreement with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit.
The nonprofit spurred the move to districts with a threatened lawsuit. Voters made the move official during the November 2014 election.
AT A GLANCE
- Independent Districting Advisory Committee has endorsed four options for City Council maps.
- Two ways to divide north Merced.
- Two ways to divide south Merced.
- City Council can choose either of the maps for each half of the city.