The information below is preserved for archive purposes.
The districting process is now complete.
Where can I learn more about drawing Council districts, "Communities of Interest," and other parts of this process?
The Brennan Center for Justice has two useful publications regarding districting and redistricting available at the following links:
The Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Asian American Legal Center co-wrote "The Impact of Redistricting on Your Community," available at this link.
The California Independent Redistricting Commission put together this collection of "Frequently Asked Questions about Redistricting."
How many people are on the City Council?
The City Council currently consists of four City Council Members, and the Mayor. This will not change. The only change is that the four City Council Members would be elected from four separate districts, instead of citywide as they were previously. The City Council will remain at the same five members it has today.
What is the Districting Process?
The City Council is planning a series of public hearings to receive input from the public on where to draw Council district lines. In particular, the Council wants the community's input on defining neighborhoods and other "communities of interest" that should be used to guide the line-drawing. Once draft plans from the public and from the City's demographic consultants are posted, the Council also hopes to hear from the public about which map(s) work best for the city, and how the maps should be improved.
What is the role of the demographer?
The demographic consultant will provide and maintain census and other relevant data, including analysis of the City’s population. NDC will also provide tools for the public to create and comment on district maps and communities of interest, assist the public in learning about the districting process, attend community meetings, all advisory meetings and City Council meetings, as well as present the final draft map(s) to the City Council based on community input.
How do I use the online maps and tools to draw a plan?
Instructions are available at the link above labeled "Draw a Map." There are many options: use the "one-page kit" to draw and submit a plan based on total population numbers. Or use the "detailed kit" to draw and submit a plan looking at more detailed demographic data. Or use the Microsoft Excel kit to let Excel add up the demographic number for you. The choice is yours.
What role do community members have in this decision?
Everyone has an important role in drawing the Council district map that will shape the City's future. The demographer and City staff will provide information to community members and answer questions. The City Council will listen to community comments and ideas, and include them in its decision-making process. Then, this November, the voters will choose whether to implement the change to by-district Council elections.
If approved by the voters (or if implemented by a Court if voters vote no and a subsequent lawsuit forces the change), the lines drawn today will shape the City's future for decades to come.
Young or old, long-time resident or new, please take this important opportunity to be heard and make an impact with your voice, presence and ideas.
How will the final decision be made?
The City Council will hold public hearings and select a map of Council districts. In November, voters will decide whether to make the change to by-district elections (if voters say no, the City could still face a lawsuit that might force a change to by-district elections).
What happens if the voters do not approve Council districts?
If the electorate does not approve Council Districts, a city can still be sued, and if found in violation of the CVRA, a court has the ability to order the implementation of a district based election system.
The latter scenario happened most recently in the City of Highland, where the voters rejected a ballot measure to switch to Council Districts, whereupon Shenkman and Hughes brought a CVRA lawsuit, and ultimately the Court ordered Highland to switch to a district based election system. The amount that Highland will have to pay plaintiff's attorneys has not yet been decided, but will almost certainly be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Similarly, voters in the City of Visalia voted no on making the election system change and Visalia was subsequently sued. The City immediately settled the case, with a judge ordering the City to move to by-district elections and the city paid plaintiff's attorneys $125,000. And voters in the Tulare Regional Medical Center voted no on making the change, leading to a change to by-district elections (despite their no vote) and a $500,000 payment to plaintiff's attorneys.
How will the changes to district elections be implemented?
Once the City Council has established the criteria through the adoption of a resolution, NDC will use the criteria to develop draft maps of Council Districts. These draft maps will assume the creation of four (4) City Council Districts, with the Mayor continuing to be elected at large.
Concurrently, the public's input in this process will be welcomed online at www.myRC.life, where you can learn more about the CVRA, provide comments, and download a paper participation kit to suggest their own district map options for consideration.
Copies of the paper participation kits will also be available at the City's libraries, community centers, and at City Hall.
Should the Council ultimately determine to place this matter before the voters in November 2016, state law requires at least three (3) public hearings prior to Council approval of a Council District map for voter consideration.
If a by-district election system is implemented starting with the City's 2018 elections, only voters living in the respective district where a Council Member election is being held can vote for that Council Member seat.
The election of the Mayor will remain "at large" (meaning elected by all the voters of the city."
No Council Members currently serving will have their term shortened or residency required prior to the next time that Council Member is up for re-election (in 2018 or 2020, depending on the Council Member).
Is districting based on ethnicity of the majority voting?
Each district drawn must have an equal number of people in it -- regardless of age, ethnicity, or any other characteristic. So the total population balance requirement is simply based on the number of human beings in each district (as counted by the 2010 Census). Compliance with the Federal Voting Rights Act is measured, in part, by the breakdown of eligible voters, registered voters, and voters casting ballots by ethnicity. The Supreme Court has held that race and/or ethnicity of the population can be one factor in the drawing of districts, but cannot be the “predominate” factor. We look at communities of interests—neighborhoods and communities with shared problems and concerns—when drawing districts.
If the voters vote yes or no on districts in November, does that matter? If the voters vote no, does lawsuit go away?
Rancho Cucamonga must submit the change in its electoral system to the voters in accordance with state law. A new law that took effect January 1, 2016, gave cities with 2010 Census populations under 100,000 the ability to change simply by ordinance, but cities over 100,000, including Rancho Cucamonga, still have to submit the change to the electorate for a vote.
In other jurisdictions that have rejected districts, the few no votes have not stopped the ultimate change to district-based elections: after the “no” vote by the electorate, lawsuits were filed and judges ordered the jurisdictions to make the change – and the jurisdiction had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in plaintiff attorney fees even when they did not contest the lawsuit.
Are Middle Eastern descendant people considered “white” in the census data?
The Census considers those with ethnic backgrounds from the Middle East and North Africa to be “Non-Hispanic White”.