In early May, the Oceanside City Council voted to transition from at-large council elections to district elections in order to avoid a potential lawsuit threatened under the California Voting Rights Act.
Numerous community meetings and public hearing took place during May and June in order to provide for community input into the districting process. The Chamber was represented at each of the meetings and has been a strong voice for the business community in the process.
The Chamber’s position on this issue has been that each of the four council districts should drawn in a way that would ensure that no district was without a significant number of businesses. According to Chamber CEO, Scott Ashton, “we want to be sure that the councilmembers in each district have a reason to listen to our business community. If a district is drawn that does not include a substantial number of businesses, there is a danger of having a councilmember somewhere down the road that doesn’t feel the need to listen to the voice of business.”
As a result of the community meetings, three maps were presented to the City Council for consideration. The Chamber has endorsed the map known as the “Neighborhoods” map as it “effectively balances the business community amongst the four districts,” according to Ashton.
A final decision on the adoption of a map will be made at a special meeting of the City Council on August 1st.