San Leandro City Council will discuss redistricting the city and changing the structure of city council at tonight’s meeting, among other issues.
City Council Size, Term Limits and Election
The possibility of increasing council member term limits from two terms to three was brought up at a June meeting by Council Member Ursula Reed. Reed argued that two terms — a total of eight years — wasn’t enough time for most council members to excel at their jobs.
Reed also proposed reducing the number of council members from six (plus the mayor) to four (plus the mayor) to save money. As local politico Mike Katz-Lacabe noted on his San Leandro Bytes blog, Pleasanton, Union City, Alameda and Livermore — cities with slightly smaller populations than San Leandro — all have five-member city councils.
On the other hand, former mayor Tony Santos has noted that San Leandro once had a five-member city council, but moved to seven members in 1948 for various reasons, including the fact that residents felt they didn’t have proper representation on the council.
Finally, the council will discuss having the voters in each district elect their own representative, instead of having the whole city vote for each council seat. You can read Patch political blogger Craig Williams’s take on this idea . (He thinks it’s a good idea.)
City Council will not make any final decisions on these issues tonight, but rather discuss them for potential future action.
The county has nearly finished its redistricting process, the state is getting closer, and now San Leandro must get moving on its own redistricting process.
The city’s charter requires district boundaries to be redrawn — in order to insure relatively equal numbers of people in each district — when the U.S. Census shows a population growth of 5 percent or more. According to the 2010 Census, the city has in the past decade — to 84,950 people.
Each of the city’s six city council districts, therefore, should have around 14,158 people in it. But District 1, represented by Council Member Michael Gregory now has around 7 percent fewer people than it should (it grew the least of any district in the city).
Meanwhile, District 6, represented by Council Member Jim Prola, has 4 percent more people than it should.
(By the way, District 5, the northern part of the city, represented by Council Member Pauline Cutter, grew the most of any district since the last census — by 15 percent, or nearly 2,000 people.)
At tonight’s meeting, the council will vote on whether to approve the redistricting process, including the timeline and criteria for drawing boundaries. The proposed criteria include respecting neighborhood and school district boundaries, keeping new districts as similar as possible to current ones, and considering communities of interest.
The proposed timeline for drawing the boundaries would have draft district maps presented to the City Council on Sept. 26. At least two community meetings would be held in early October, and final district maps would be adopted in early November.
Other Items on Tonight’s Agenda
Here are some other items of interest at tonight’s city council meeting.
City Council will vote on whether or not to impose $121,000 in liens for non-payment of delinquent 2011 business license taxes, trash pickup charges, fees for community compliance violations and other overdue charges.
According to the city, the largest unpaid business license fees are owed by Social Day Services ($2,651.40), Las Palmas Development Partners ($2,141.80) and Dr. Ralph and Sarah Dayan ($1,885).
You can find the full list of properties and individuals subject to liens here.
Judy Walker, an administrative assistant at the city’s water pollution control plant, will receive recognition as Employee of the Quarter.
On the consent calendar, City Council will vote on a $403,000 contract for Blossom Valley Construction for improvements to the Marina Park par course.
You can view the full city council at right.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in .