Dana Point districting is now a done deal. After a long city council meeting on 1 May 2018, Dana Point is now partitioned into five separate voting districts according to the map labeled Tan VI (see below).
In a city council meeting that was as significant as it was tedious, councilmember Debra Lewis described the general mood:
“We’re being forced to do something that makes no sense to any of us.”
The complex process of Dana Point districting was triggered recently by a lawyer, Russel Myrick, from La Jolla, and was expedited through the city legislative process in an effort to qualify Dana Point for “safe harbor” protection from future law suits regarding the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA). While there remains one formality to be ratified by the city council before 21 May 2018, the substantive decisions required of the city council have been made.
Here are the specific decisions made by the council on 1 May 2018:
Question 1: Change to by-district voting?
Final Decision 1: Yes
Question 2: Choose A) 5 districts or B) 4 districts plus an at-large Mayor?
Final Decision 2: Option A, 5 Districts
Question 3: What is the map of the new districts?
Final Decision 3: Map Tan VI — http://www.danapoint.org/home/showdocument?id=26209
Question 4: Which districts will vote in 2018 (and which will not)?
Final Decision 4: On the Tan VI map, Districts 1, 2 & 3 to vote in 2018, and 4 & 5 to vote in 2020
Roughly speaking this means the following areas WILL vote in 2018, but NOT in 2020: Monarch Beach, the “Bible Belt,” parts of the Lantern District, and Doheny Village. (Districts 1, 2 & 3)
These areas will NOT vote in 2018, but WILL vote in 2020: Most of the Lantern District, the Harbor, the Strands, and Capistrano Beach. (Districts 4 & 5)
Dana Pointers have wondered exactly how the current council, wracked as it has been with political in-fighting, would answer Question 4 — which districts will be allowed to vote in 2018 — given that three current councilmembers are up for reelection. Out of general frustration with the council, some residents have expressed concern that this districting process has been vulnerable to political machinations of current councilmembers who are coming up for reelection. That suspicion is of course, pure speculation, but is, nonetheless, a high-water mark of mistrust.
Because of that, Question 4 was the most politically charged and most immediately relevant to the election coming up in a few months. Mayor Viczorek spelled out his reasoning for selecting districts 1, 2 & 3 for voting in 2018:
As seen in the video above, Mr. Viczorek’s reasoning for this decision is
“you just count 1-2-3, and then 4 and 5 in the next election…. It just makes common sense to go 1-2-3.”
Criticism of this reasoning came in a poignant moment when councilmember Lewis, who had earlier suggested drawing numbers randomly from a hat to remove any implication of unfair influence, commented:
“I found that to be the most political vote that I have taken so far on this council. I am really embarrassed for us.”
Councilmember John Tomlinson, who lives in Capistrano Beach, made the initial motion to leave his own district 5 out of the 2018 election, which effectively means he will not seek reelection. Mr. Tomlinson has not responded to a request for confirmation or comment on that point. Because of the new Dana Point districting rules, Capistrano Beach will not be allowed to field any candidates this year.
DanaPointer.com has created an interactive map of the new voting districts. To stay informed about all the important changes coming up, please use the form below to subscribe.