Foothill-De Anza district forced to walk away from general election, with new districts coming in 2022
Driven by a potential pursuit who accused him of having violated a item in the California Voting Rights Act which prohibits general electoral systems, the District Governing Board of Foothill-De Anza Community College is advancing their resolution bring the district into compliance by February 2022.
At the second of two public hearings held on October 4, the Board encouraged the community of Foothill-De Anza to participate and to advise on how the new quarters should be cut.
Since its founding in 1957, the five-person board of directors has been made up of members elected “at large,” meaning that trustees can live anywhere in the district, provided they win their seats when they are elected. ” a district-wide vote.
Peter Landsberger, chairman of the board since November 2016, said state law is very clear and there are no options but to comply.
“Even though there are pros and cons that people can discuss, I’m comfortable with this change because it’s the policy,” Landsberger said.
Despite the fact that the newly drawn districts could lead to a major overhaul of the current board of directors, he doesn’t let that influence decisions.
“I hope that doesn’t change the composition of the board, if it does, but it’s up to the people to decide,” Landsberger said. “We’re only going to make decisions based on criteria defined by the public and the tokens are going to drop where they can. If two or even three of us end up in a neighborhood, that’s how the cookie crumbles. “
Administrator Pearl Cheng, who has been in office since 2008, described a number of factors that will guide the board in the new district process.
“California’s voting rights law incorporates criteria that guide this work and were well described during the meeting: 1. Equal population, 2. Keeping communities of interest together, 3. Complying with voting laws state, 4. No cardholder protection, ”Cheng wrote in an email.
Roberta Holloman, who was the only person in the audience to comment on Monday, said she agreed. She also represented the League of Women Voters of Cupertino and Sunnyvale.
“No protection in place doesn’t mean gerrymandering,” Holloman said. “Otherwise, I’m happy to see that a lot of our criteria are the same as theirs. We watch and we think they are doing a good job.
While no one on the board opposed the law, some members, like Administrator Gilbert Wong, lamented that the old electoral system worked well.
“In my opinion, in the case of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, the general electoral system has worked very well, as you have three people of color currently on the board, two of whom are women, ”Wong said.
“However, no one should be surprised by this,” Wong said. “Every ten years, from the US Congress to the California State Assembly, to city councils, we have to do this routine of redrawing the lines even though there is no guarantee that the incumbents will be. protected. It’s just democracy at work.
To help it in its very first process of dividing into districts, Foothill-De Anza calls on the services of Redistribution partners, a Sacramento-based company that has already helped other community college districts and local governments across the state with similar efforts.
In addition to advising the council on its project and keeping it in compliance with state law, the company has also set up a public mapping tool called DistrictR that any member of the public can use to draw maps that can be submitted to Council.
According to the latest census in 2020, the total population living in the Foothill-De Anza Community College district area is approximately 448,900 and the district map will need to be divided into five equal districts.
Members of the public do not need to be actual residents of any of these areas to submit comments.
“You can be someone from the outside, whether it’s a student or someone with ties to one of the schools,” Wong said. “We appreciate your contribution. You can find voter groups within the district area that reflect your interests.
The Council will hold two more public meetings – one on December 13 and one on January 10, to review the draft maps submitted by the public before voting on a final version on February 14, 2022.
Existing directors will serve the remainder of their term even if the new electoral system is implemented in 2022.