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By Allison Jarrell
The city of San Juan Capistrano is another step closer to making the switch from at-large to by-district municipal elections this November. The City Council voted unanimously April 19 to allocate $70,000 from the city’s general fund to pay for a demographer and community outreach services in order to begin the process of mapping out voting districts.
The council authorized City Manager Ben Siegel to execute agreements with Q2 Data & Research, LLC for demographic services, in an amount not to exceed $50,000, and Ames & Associates to assist with community outreach, in an amount not to exceed $20,000.
Following work by the demographer and input gathered at community forums, a mapping process will be developed, and staff will bring that process back to the City Council for approval. The end result will be the creation of either four or five voting districts with an elected mayor.
City staff announced Tuesday the following dates, times and locations of the upcoming community forums, which will be focused on gathering input on the mapping out of the city’s future voting districts:
- May 4: 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at the San Juan Capistrano Community Center, 25925 Camino Del Avion
- May 7: Noon-2 p.m. at the La Sala Auditorium in the San Juan Capistrano Library, 31495 El Camino Real
- June 1: 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at the San Juan Capistrano Community Center, 25925 Camino Del Avion
Staff anticipates that the mapping process will come back before the City Council for a public hearing on May 18 and a second public hearing on June 7.
At Tuesday’s meeting, San Juan resident Tom Scott, president of the Camino Real Playhouse, advised the council during public comment that the most important community outreach for the city is to “be involved in telling people they must be registered to vote, no matter what the districts are.”
Registering to vote can be done online at www.registertovote.ca.gov.