– Public Notice –

Public Hearing Date- May 15, 2024

The City Council of the City of Soledad will conduct a Public Hearing during a meeting on May 15, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at 248 Main Street, Soledad, California 93960 as part of its consideration of the adoption of Ordinance No. 768, “An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Soledad Establishing and Implementing By-District Elections (Government Code Section 34886 and Elections Code Section 10010).  


The City of Soledad currently elects its four city councilmembers and Mayor “at-large,” meaning each registered voter in the City has the opportunity to vote for all candidates seeking seats in the election.  In response to a letter challenging the City’s current election system and asserting that the City’s at-large election system violates the California Voting Rights Act, the City has commenced efforts to transition to a by-district election system.


Under a by-district election system, the Council must adopt a map separating the City into voting districts. Voters within each district will vote only for candidates living within that specific district.  From October 25, 2022, to September 6, 2023, the Council held a series of five public hearings on districting issues and maps, directed staff and consultants to conduct a series of community workshops to educate the public on the districting process and explain how to prepare maps, and established and received input from an Advisory Community Districting Committee on preferred four- and five-district map options.


On October 4, 2023, after conducting a public hearing, the Council adopted Ordinance No. 765 which approved a five-district map whereby all members of the Council are elected by-district.  The five-district voting plan, in which the Mayor’s position would no longer be selected at-large but instead would be selected from among the five elected councilmembers by a process to be approved by the City Council, was subsequently placed on the ballot by a referendum petition and was defeated at a Special Election on March 5, 2024 by a vote of 1673 No to 204 Yes.


On May 1, 2024, the City Council conducted a sixth public hearing at a regular meeting to review the districting process, receive public input, and then to discuss and consider confirmation of a final selection on a preferred four-district map and election sequence for by-district elections. All of the four-district maps under consideration have been and continue to be available to the public on the City’s website and have been reproduced and included in agenda packets.  All four-district maps under consideration have also been confirmed as being prepared in compliance with the criteria established by the Fair Maps Act- Elections Code Section 21601.


At the conclusion of the sixth public hearing, the Council reaffirmed their previous choice of the preferred four-district map, the “Tan Map,” and thereafter introduced, waived reading, and read by title only, Ordinance No. 768. If approved, Ordinance No. 768 would establish an election sequencing plan whereby the Mayor and two councilmembers would be up for election every two years.  As is the law with districting transitions, no current councilmember’s term of office would be impacted by the by-district conversion.  This would be accomplished by phasing the conversion to district elections over the course of two election cycles in 2024 (Districts 3 and 4) and 2026 (Districts 1 and 2).  Under the four-district format, councilmembers’ terms would remain at four years and the current two-year term and accompanying two-year voting schedule for the Mayor’s position would remain unchanged.


A copy of the full text of the proposed ordinance is available in the office of the City Clerk.


Persons interested should appear at the above Public Hearing on May 15, 2024, in order to make their comments known. Persons who are unable to attend may direct their written comments to the City Clerk, P.O. Box 156, Soledad, California 93960.

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