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Irvine’s Transition to District Elections Begins

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Irvine residents have begun to change the political map of Irvine … literally!

The City of Irvine, like hundreds of cities and school districts across California, is pursuing a shift in how voters elect members of the City Council.

Currently, Irvine voters elect the Mayor and four City Councilmembers. Under the proposed district election system, the Council would be expanded to seven members — a Mayor elected at-large and six Councilmembers, each elected from a separate voting district.

If approved by Irvine voters in March 2024, the new district election system would go into effect in time for the November 2024 election.
 
To help with the process, the City has retained National Demographics Corporation (NDC), which has consulted with hundreds of cities and other public entities on implementing district elections. NDC is coordinating the effort to involve the Irvine public in the development of districts. These efforts include: public hearings; informational community meetings; and an interactive website offering information on the process, the opportunity for residents to submit written comments, and an interactive map that residents can use to draw and submit their own ideas of how districts should be shaped.
 
The first public hearing was held on April 11th as part of the regular Irvine City Council meeting in the Council Chambers at City Hall (1 Civic Center Plaza).
 
“This is an exciting watershed moment for Irvine,” said Councilmember Larry Agran, who has championed district elections since rejoining the Council in 2020. “Everybody in the City can participate in this process, and everybody will have a vote on the final map. This is a big step forward for democracy and fair representation in Irvine.”
 
After an initial round of hearings to receive public comments and suggestions, NDC will draft several proposed maps that will then be the subject of further hearings and meetings. A process of refining and winnowing the maps in response to public input is expected to result in a final map by fall of this year. That final map will be put to Irvine voters in March 2024 as part of a ballot measure that will also include expansion of the City Council.
 
Here is the schedule for the first five public hearings, which will be held at City Hall (1 Civic Center Plaza) during regular City Council meetings:

  • April 11, 2023 at 6pm
  • May 9, 2023 at 6pm
  • July 11, 2023 at 6pm
  • September 12, 2023 at 6pm
  • October 10, 2023 at 6pm

In addition, the City is hosting workshops throughout the Irvine community to give residents an opportunity to learn more about the tools available to draw maps, ensure their neighborhood is fairly represented, and connect with others engaged in the district formation process.

  • April 15, 2023 at 10am: City Council Chamber (1 Civic Center Plaza)
  • April 15, 2023 at 2pm: Great Park Artist Studio (8000 Great Park Blvd.)
  • April 22, 2023 at 10am: Quail Hill Community Center (39 Shady Canyon)
  • April 22, 2023 at 2pm: Heritage Park Library (14361 Yale Ave.)
  • April 26, 2023 at 6pm: Virtual via Zoom
  • May 13, 2023 at 3pm: Chinese Cultural Center (9 Truman St.)
  • May 27, 2023 at 10am Lakeview Senior Center (20 Lake Rd.)

A second round of community workshops will begin in July.

The City has also launched a website: DrawIrvine.org. The site includes a schedule of public meetings and deadlines; frequently asked questions; resources for drawing maps; and other information on how to get directly involved in the district formation process. The website will be frequently updated with new meeting and map information as the process moves forward.

Councilmember Agran stated: “I urge everyone to get involved in improving our local democracy. Make suggestions. Submit your own maps. And encourage your Irvine neighbors to join you in creating fair representation through the new districting system.”

Please contact the City of Irvine at districting@cityofirvine.org or call (949) 724-7575 for questions, comments, and map suggestions.

Roger Bloom

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