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  Agenda Item   5.    
City Council Meeting
Meeting Date: 06/15/2021  
FROM: Bill Gallardo

Subject:
District-Based Elections Update
RECOMMENDATION
Discuss and provide direction.
BACKGROUND/DISCUSSION
On May 6, 2019, the City of Brea received a notice letter from Shenkman & Hughes, P.C. (“S&H”) alleging that the City’s at-large election system violates the California Voting Rights Act (“CVRA”). The City and S&H subsequently executed an Extension Agreement in which S&H agreed to refrain from filing a CVRA action as long as the City took specified steps to transition to district-based elections. In accordance with the Extension Agreement, on June 20, 2019, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 2019-049, declaring its intent to transition from at-large elections for City Council to district-based elections for City Council. 

Pursuant to that resolution, the City Council intends to consider adoption of an ordinance to transition to district-based elections in accordance with applicable laws including Government Code Section 34886 and Elections Code Section 10010. That resolution directed staff to work with the City Clerk, City Attorney, a demographer and other appropriate consultants as needed, to provide a detailed analysis of the City’s current demographics and any other information or data necessary to prepare a draft map that divides the City into voting districts in a manner consistent with the intent and purpose of the CVRA and the Federal Voting Rights Act (“FVRA”).

The City issued a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) for Electoral Districting Services on April 6, 2021. The RFP solicited proposals from qualified firms to provide a comprehensive review of all relative data; propose recommendations that will meet all applicable legal requirements pertaining to electoral districts; coordinate with staff in conducting public outreach and education; and prepare preliminary and final districting plans to ensure full-legal compliance. The RFP was posted on the City’s purchasing webpage and notifications were issued nationwide though Public Purchase. 

On April 20, the City Council provided further direction to staff to proceed with the RFP process, while concurrently implementing a districting page on the City’s website in accordance with legal requirements. In addition, Council directed staff to take steps to show progress with the districting process, while being mindful of the costs associated with the project. 

Since the time of that discussion, the RFP has closed, and staff has added a dedicated districting page to the City’s website, which contains information related to the background on district elections; a record of hearings, which includes staff reports and minutes from previous districting discussions; procedures for public input; and the California Secretary of State’s required information templates in all applicable languages. 

In response to the RFP, the City received one (1) proposal from National Demographics Corporation (“NDC”), a nationally recognized pioneer in districting services for local governments across California. NDC’s proposal included a comprehensive scope of work to address all legal requirements associated with transitioning to district-based elections. As a component of their proposal, NDC outlined a proposed project timeline in order to satisfy each step of the transition process by the mandated deadline of April 17, 2022. The suggested timeline, which spans from June 2021 to April 2022, includes phasing for project planning and initial outreach; initial data analysis and hearings; draft mapping time; and map adoption. Each phase includes a detailed list of project tasks that must be completed along with deliverables that NDC will provide. 

The total project cost for the full scope of work, which includes all basic project elements as well as the consultant’s attendance at in-person hearings and public outreach tools, amounts to $48,500. In order to meet the phases of the project’s timeline, staff is prepared to return to Council on July 20 for consideration of the award of contract to NDC for Electoral Districting Services. If a contract is awarded at that time, staff intends to work closely with NDC on the mandated public outreach efforts and community participation, as well as provide support for the coordination of formal public hearings.
RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED:
William Gallardo, City Manager
Prepared by: Victoria Popescu, Deputy City Clerk 

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