|The City of Brea currently uses an at-large election system, in which all voters in the City have the opportunity to vote for candidates for all five (5) seats on the City Council. City Council candidates may reside anywhere in the City, and they each provide citywide representation. Brea’s General Municipal Elections are consolidated with the Orange County Registrar of Voters Statewide Elections and are held on the first Tuesday of November of even number years. A district-based election system is one in which a city is geographically divided into separate districts, each with one (1) council member who resides in the district and is chosen by the electors residing in that particular district.
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 to district-based elections for City Council.
Pursuant to Resolution No. 2019-049, 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. The 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”) within 90 days of receipt of the 2020 Census results.
On April 6, 2021, the City of Brea issued a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) to qualified firms for Electoral Districting Services. 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 through Public Purchase. On April 27, 2021, the City received one (1) proposal from National Demographics Corporation (“NDC”) in response to the RFP.
The responsive proposal met general criteria outlined in the RFP to provide the City with Electoral Districting Services in relation to the preparation of draft, recommended and final districting plans for establishing electoral districts; as well as the coordination of public outreach and education; analysis of Census data and demographics; and to obtain compliance with the FVRA and CVRA, and all other applicable laws. At this time, staff is recommending the contract be awarded to NDC, a nationally-recognized pioneer in districting services for local governments across California. NDC’s proposal includes a comprehensive scope of work to address all legal requirements associated with the transition to district-based elections.
The detailed scope of work is provided in Attachment 1 to this report. In addition to the scope of work, NDC has proposed a project timeline in order to satisfy each step of the transition process by the mandated deadline of April 17, 2022. A brief summary of each stage in an estimated timeline is provided below. Each stage is required in order for the City to fulfill its legal obligations in transitioning to district-based elections.
July – August: Project Planning and Initial Outreach
August – September: Initial Data Analysis and Initial Hearings
- Prepare a detailed project timeline of expected districting outreach efforts, formal hearings, draft map dates and final map adoption dates.
- Work with staff to prepare a project outreach plan covering target audiences, contact lists, social media efforts, any potential postcard mailings, utility bill inserts, etc. to engage the public in providing feedback in the City’s transition to district-based elections.
October – December: Draft Mapping Time
- Prepare a report regarding demographics of the jurisdiction, including maps of “protected class” population considerations and other socio-economic data often referenced in districting.
- Present overview of districting laws and criteria, jurisdiction demographics and opportunities for public input at public hearings.
January – April: Map Adoption
- Continue collection of public feedback and draft map submissions.
- Process all public draft map submissions and summarize all input, including maps, related demographics and summaries provided in web-friendly formats.
- Public hearing to review the draft maps, narrow down the draft maps, and provide direction on any new or revised maps.
- Outreach continues to inform the public of the progress of the project, opportunities for future participation, and, ultimately, which map is adopted.
- Final plan revisions are made and adopted by way of ordinance.
- Coordinate map implementation with the County Registrar, informing staff of the progress, any issues, and ultimate completion of that work.
The timeline provided is subject to change based on ongoing fluctuations in the date when official population data will be available as well as possible modifications in state deadlines.
|The total cost for the full scope of work as outlined in Attachment 1, 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. A total project budget of $125,000 was approved as part of the FY 2020-21 3rd Quarter budget adjustments in anticipation of transitioning from at-large to district-based elections. Finance Committee is requested to recommend that the Professional Services Agreement with National Demographics Corporation be awarded in the amount not-to-exceed $48,500 plus up to a 10% contingency, should additional public outreach or services be needed.