Foothill-DeAnza Districting meeting

Foothill-DeAnza Community College Trustee Areas Election Meeting

October 4, 2021

Board President Landsberger:

The District is working with Redistricting Partners to develop communities of interest and boundary lines (maps).

President Landsberger reminded people that there are multiple ways to participate in the process.

  1. Attending and speaking at public meetings like this one
  2. Taking the online survey to identify communities of interest
  3. Using the online map tool (DistrictR) on the District website.

All discussions with the Redistricting Partners about boundary lines will be in public meetings. The final decision will be made on February 14, 2022 and the new election system will be phased in over two election cycles beginning in November 2022.

Redistricting Partners:

Three critical questions to answer about a community of interest.

  1. Does it have a shared culture, characteristics or bond?
  2. Is the community geographic in nature? Is the community able to be mapped?
  3. What is the community’s relationship with the jurisdiction being districted? How is it affected by the policy decisions made by the elected officials?

Comments from the audience:

Roberta Hollimon of LWV Cupertino-Sunnyvale shared League criteria for drawing district boundaries, which she noted are very similar to those of the College District.

  1. Population is the most important.
  2. Keep communities together.
  3. Stay in compliance with  the federal voting rights act.
  4. Boundaries should provide no incumbent protection.

Trustee questions to Redistricting Partners:

Which is more restrictive – the federal voting rights act or the state’s?

Answer: The Federal Voting Rights Act and the California Voting Rights Act operate in two different ways and have different standards for the plaintiff. In California, the CVRA requires all at-large districts to convert to a by-district process if the plaintiff charges that racially polarized voting exists. Once the district converts to by-district, then the CVRA no longer applies as the remedy has been imposed on the agency.  

The Federal Voting Rights Acts applies to all government agencies whether by-district or at-large, and requires that the district create minority/majority districts if certain conditions apply.

Trustee questions to Redistricting Partners:

The population numbers in the Board packet are different from those of DistrictR. Why?

Answer: The Board packet numbers have the prison population included, the DistrictR does not. The DistrictR numbers will be updated.

What percentage differential is allowed by law between districts?

Answer: The law allows a 10% deviation for the total plan.

What will the next two meetings look like?

Answer: Redistricting Partners will summarize the community input data and any maps that have been submitted via DistrictR. Redistricting Partners often finds themes and will consolidate for easier consumption. Three maps will be presented and will be accompanied by a rationale for their selection.

What is the last date that a member of the public can submit input to Redistricting Partners?

Answer: Up to February 14, 2022.

How many maps have been submitted so far?

Answer: At last check – 16.

What number will be used to create the district?

Answer: Total population.

Next public meetings:

December 13, 2021 – discussion of maps

January 10, 2022 – discussion of maps

February 14, 2022 – review and vote on final map by the FH-DA Board of Trustees.

Lessons from America in One Room Event, 10/28 at 7:00pm

How can our local community solve our problems if we can’t talk to each other?  

Learn how American in One Room bridged the divide when discussing polarizing topics and help us consider how we can apply its model locally.  Bring your suggestions for topics our community should be discussing.

Join us and enter America in One Room, a project of Stanford’s Center for Deliberative Democracy which brought together a diverse group of 523 Americans to constructively discuss some of our country’s most polarizing issues. Dr. James Fishkin and Dr. Alice Siu will share what they learned from the project and we will consider how their methods can be applied to promote more productive discussions around locally divisive topics. 

Registration is required and space is limited.  

Thursday, October 28th, 2021 at 7:00-8:30pm (Zoom)

Register 

Downloadable flyer: A1R Flyer   

Video on America in One Room Video (six minutes). For more information: [email protected].  

This event is co-sponsored by the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Mountain View.

Pre-Registering High School Students to Vote

In anticipation of National Voter Registration Day, September 28, the League of Women Voters Los Altos-Mountain View’s Participate in Democracy video was shown to more than 1300 US History, US History AP, Government, and Government AP students at Mountain View and Los Altos High Schools. The video emphasizes the importance of voting and encourages students to register (or pre-register) to vote. We are indebted to the teachers and administrators of the MVLA High School District for their help in bringing this project to the students.

Check out our video: Participate in Democracy  

After watching the video, the students who are 16 years old and citizens used the Secretary of State’s registration website to pre-register online. California legislation came into effect in 2014 which allows any citizen, by birth or naturalized, to pre-register at sixteen and automatically receive a ballot at the first election after they turn eighteen.

In addition to playing the video presentation, fifteen LAHS and MVHS teachers distributed to the students: Voters Edge bookmarks with voter information and “Future Voter” wristbands to celebrate their ability to make their voice heard in American elections.

The You Tube video was moderated by LWV member Abby Longcor. Google slides for the presentation were completed by Lisa McLain and Abby Longcor. Max Beckman-Harned provided technical support to make the video live. Claudia Hevel and Claire Noonan with support from the LWV Voters Services Committee connected with the high school teachers to make the project succeed.

Foothill-DeAnza Trustee Area Elections Redistricting Process

September 13, 2021

Background from the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District Website:

On March 11, 2019, the Foothill-De Anza Community College District Board of Trustees adopted a resolution stating that the district will change the way that voters elect trustees for the first time since its founding in 1957.

Under the new system, instead of electing governing board members “at-large” with results decided by a districtwide vote, voters will elect one trustee from each of five smaller geographic areas, beginning in November 2022. The district’s 400,000+ residents will be divided into five “trustee areas” of roughly equal population size based on the 2020 Census. To run for election in a trustee area, a candidate must live in that area. The new system is intended to provide fair and equal representation for all district residents and will make it easier and less expensive to campaign for a seat on the board.

The decision to move to trustee area elections – also called “by-district” elections – was made in response to a demand letter from a lawyer representing a district resident, Sebastian Aguilar, which asserted that the Foothill-De Anza Community College District’s system of at-large elections may violate the California Voting Rights Act. It is one of many similar letters sent to local jurisdictions in recent years claiming that at-large elections abridge the voting rights of minority populations. These letters state that unless a change is made to by-district elections is made, a lawsuit will be filed. 

September 13, 2021 Board of Trustee meeting, Peter Landsberger, president, gave an overview of the process.

  • Each district would have to have roughly equal population.
  • Each district would have to include identified communities of interest.
  • Citizens can map communities of interest with a mapping tool which can be found on FHDA website.
  • All maps will be posted on the website for review and comment.
  • Redistricting Partners has been hired as consultants to assist the board in the districting process.
  • All four districting meetings will be public.
  • The trustees are committed to open, transparent, and public process.
  • The conversion to districts will be implemented over two election cycles. (sequencing)

Presentation by Redistricting Partners

  • California Voting Rights Act prohibits at-large elections in local government if there is racially polarized voting.
  • Traditional districting principles:
  • Relatively equal size of people, not citizens.
  • Contiguous, districts should not hop and jump.
  • Maintain “communities of interest”.
  • Follow local government lines.
  • Keep districts compact.

Schedule:

September 13 – hearing on community input.

October 4 – hearing on community input.

December 13 – hearing on draft maps.

January 10 – hearing on draft maps.

February 14 – hearing to approve final map and sequencing.

To input on communities of interest or submit a map go to:

https://www.fhda.edu/trustee-areas/

Speaker from the public: Ken Horowitz

    1. Does districting require voter approval or just the Board of Trustees? Since it will be voted on after January 1, 2022, a new law will apply and the district map can be approved by the board only.
    2. Can the districting process include an amendment to include term limits? No.

The next meeting will be on October 4.

Sue Graham, observer

Provide Feedback for State and Local Redistricting

Every ten years, after the census figures are released, local governments and agencies will redraw the district boundaries for future elections of trustees, commissioners, directors, etc. Redistricting will determine political representation for the next ten years. The League believes that districts should be drawn using fair criteria to help keep communities intact and to ensure that everyone is equally represented.

Check out the information below to learn about the various redistricting efforts and how you can provide feedback.

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisor Districts

Flyer: SCC Redistricting Info

Website Info: https://countyexec.sccgov.org/2021-redistricting-process

Valley Water 

https://www.valleywater.org/how-we-operate/redistricting

MidPeninsula Regional Open Space  (Feedback by 9/10/21)

Learn about redistricting and provide feedback

The next outreach meeting is October 27. Midpen is offering an online tool to get feedback on current ward boundaries as they start to process 2020 census data released recently. Midpen’s MyDistricting tool lets you add comments on an interactive map to provide input, share ideas and suggest things to consider when defining the new boundaries of each director’s ward. 

Foothill DeAnza College District:  Changing from At Large” to District” elections

Help Shape Trustee Area Boundaries – Learn more at a series of public hearings (9/13 or 10/4) or by completing a “Communities of Interest” survey. To learn more 

State of California 

Every 10 years, after the federal government publishes updated census information, California must redraw the boundaries of its Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly and State Board of Equalization districts, so that the districts correctly reflect the state’s population.

In 2008 California voters authorized the creation of the Citizens Redistricting Commission. It authorized the Commission to draw the new district lines. The 14-member Commission is made up of five Republicans, five Democrats, and 4 not affiliated with either of those two parties. The Commission must draw the district lines in conformity with strict, nonpartisan rules designed to create districts of relatively equal population that will provide fair representation for all Californians.  To learn more about the: 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission.

To provide feedback:

Participate

Upcoming Meetings

Gubernatorial Recall: YOUR VOTE. YOUR VOICE.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2021 CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR RECALL ELECTION

What’s on the ballot?  

The California Governor Recall Election is on Tuesday, September 14. There will be two questions on the ballot that every eligible Californian can vote on: 

  1. Do you want to recall the governor (remove him from office)?
  2. If the governor is recalled, who do you want to replace him?

If more than 50% of voters say “no” to the first question, the governor remains in office. If more than 50% of voters say “yes” to the first question, the person who gets the most votes on the second question becomes the governor. 

How do I vote in the Recall Election?

Every registered voter in California will receive a ballot in the mail, about a month before the Tuesday, September 14 Recall Election. Register to Vote at registertovote.ca.gov.  Don’t know if you’re registered to vote? Visit voterstatus.sos.ca.gov to check your registration status or register to vote. 
The deadline to register for the Recall Election is Monday, August 30, 2021. 

There are 3 ways to vote:

VOTE BY MAIL

You can fill it in and mail it back as soon as you receive it. No postage is needed. Mail your ballot back early because it must be postmarked by Election Day, Tuesday, September 14.

DROP OFF YOUR BALLOT

 You can drop off your ballot at any voting location in your county. Some counties will also offer secure drop off locations. For details and locations check caearlyvoting.sos.ca.gov. If you decide
to drop off your ballot, you must drop it off no later than 8 pm on Election Day, September 14.

VOTE IN PERSON

Your voting location may be different this year. In certain counties you can vote at any voting location. In other counties you must visit a special assigned voting location. Early voting, starting before Election Day, will be available in some locations.

At in-person voting locations you can:

  • Vote in person.
  • Drop off your completed ballot.
  • Vote with an accessible voting machine.
  • Get help and voting materials in multiple languages.
  • Find your voting location at  findmypollingplace.sos.ca.gov.

 

GUBERNATORIAL RECALL ELECTION- SEPTEMBER 14

Be sure to vote in the upcoming gubernatorial recall election on September 14th and encourage those around you, as well as friends and family, to participate! Ballots will be mailed to registered voters beginning August 16th.

On the ballot, there will be two questions and voters will have the opportunity to answer one or both:

1. Should the governor be recalled? 

2. If he is recalled, who should replace him? (If the majority of voters answer yes to the first question, the candidate who garners the most votes to question two wins, even if by only a fraction of votes). 

Check your voter status at: https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/

More information from about the election can be found here: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/

Official ballot drop box sites and early voting information: SCC ROV Drop Box Sites

Los Altos School Board, June 2021

LASD Board Meeting June 1, 2021

The board members voted unanimously to adopt a new math curriculum for grades TK-5 following a brief presentation and public hearing.

The Citizens Advisory Committee of Finance (CACF) presented their annual report, which showed that the district is in a strong financial position. Reserves are above target levels and projected to increase due to stable tax growth and flat enrollment. LASD facility maintenance fees are higher than those of neighboring districts, so the CACF advised setting aside $5 million from Measure N ($1 million per year for 5 years) to upgrade aging facilities. (Measure N was approved by voters in 2014, allowing the district to issue bonds in order to fund facility upgrades and the purchase of a new school site.)

Assistant Superintendent Randy Kenyon presented the 2021-22 District Budget. The budget projects that revenue will exceed expenses by about $900,000 next year, bringing the district’s total reserves to almost 15%.  Property tax revenue is expected to increase by 4% while federal and other state funding sources will decrease because one-time funding to address the pandemic will be withdrawn. Expenses will also decrease for a variety of reasons, including carryover from the 2020-21 budget and the cessation of COVID-related spending. Multi-year projections show reserves growing year over year.

For more information about the budget, please see item H.10 from the agenda for the June 1 meeting.

LASD Board Meeting June 8, 2021

Assistant Superintendent Sandra McGonagle presented preliminary results from the spring academic assessments in reading and math. Despite the pandemic, the percentage of students testing below grade level was similar to previous years, with  87% of students at or above grade level in both subject areas.

The board of trustees voted unanimously to approve the 2021-22 District Budget.

Superintendent Jeff Baier also announced increased compensation for both teachers and staff.

The board will meet on Monday, June 21 to vote on the following:

  1. A one-time payment in the amount of $1000 per FTE (full-time equivalent) for the 2020-21 school year for both teachers and staff
  • A 5% raise for all teachers and staff (in addition to the 2% raise approved earlier this school year) for the 2021-22 school year to keep salaries competitive

The board also approved the annual report from the Measure N Citizens Oversight Committee. The annual report included a clean audit showing that all Measure N expenditures during the 2019-20 fiscal year met the spending requirements specified by the measure.

LASD Board Meeting June 21, 2021

The board voted unanimously to approve the increased compensation for both teachers and staff (including non-represented employees) as discussed during the last board meeting on June 8, 2021.

Stella Kam, Observer

Los Altos City Council, June 2021

June 8, 2021

The City Council wishes to achieve a Housing Element Update that reflects the City’s goals (including community involvement) and can be certified by the State of California in compliance with State law. The City’s sixth cycle Housing Element update must be completed by January 2023. State law requires that every eight years cities prepare an update of Housing Element, a guide for the housing needs of all segments of its population.

To enlist a consultant experienced in developing a Housing Element Update, Council approved adding some Capital Investment Projects funds for the Housing Element Update and authorized the City Manager to execute an agreement with Lisa Wise Consulting (LWC) to provide the Update.

In addition, new changes in State law (SB 166) related to zoning creates new pressures for the City to ensure that sites identified for lower-income housing are not concentrated in one area but must be spread out.

Also, the City will face higher scrutiny for non-vacant and vacant sites during this cycle. State regulations designate land which is deemed ‘non-vacant’ and ‘vacant.’

Finally, the City will need to accommodate a much higher number of lower income housing units to meet the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) State mandates to be completed by 2031, which may require the City to amend its general plan and zoning code to allow for more housing opportunities for residents—regardless of income.

Discussion about community outreach and engagement included organizing a variety of ways to educate the community about the heavily regulated State requirements for the Housing Element Update and RHNA before the project is completed.

The City Council heard an update from the City Council Legislative Subcommittee on State Assembly and Senate bills that affect the positions of the League of California Cities. For bills which had been previously on the “watch” list, four have been changed to specific positions and the subcommittee has letters for the Assembly and Senate committees to be approved by Council. Of those bills, City Council opposes AB 602 which changes laws that govern local development impact fees, such as Traffic Impact fees; opposes AB 989 which creates a new appeals commission to make judgements on local public health and safety decisions about housing development; opposes AB 1401 that prohibits local government from imposing minimum parking requirements for housing. The city supports identical SB 4 and AB 14 which prioritize deployment of broadband infrastructure in California.

June 22, 2021

The City Council welcomed a new City Manager. Gabriel Engeland will begin work in Los Altos on July 19, 2021. He previously was City Manager in Sierra Madre, California, and also worked in Trinidad, Colorado and Gilbert, Arizona. He received his Masters Degree in Public Administration at the University of Kansas. His expertise is finance and budget.

The City Council directed the city staff to file an appeal of the City’s housing allocation for the sixth housing element cycle to the Association of Bay Area Governments/Regional Housing Needs Allocation (ABAG RHNA). The appeal against California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) challenges the method used by HCD to determine the numbers of housing needed in Los Altos.

The City Council Legislative Subcommittee presented further update on State legislation the Council has been asked to support or oppose as recommended by the League of California Cities. The Council voted to support SB 16. The bill makes subject to disclosure every incident involving unreasonable or excessive force by police, and any finding that an officer failed to intervene against another officer using unreasonable or excessive force. Councilmember Jonathan Weinberg states the bill provides transparency to police action and in doing so augments public trust in the police. On reconsideration, the Council changed 3/2 to support AB 989 about an appeals commission to make judgements on local public health and safety decisions about housing development. The council changed 3/2 to support AB 1401. The bill prohibits a local government from imposing a minimum automobile parking requirement, eliminates expensive parking mandates in areas with good transit, and supports changes to public driving and parking models in the future, according to Member Weinberg. Vice Mayor Enander states that the legislation would take away the ability of local governments to make parking requirements.

Observer Claire Noonan