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Workshops to address district elections for City Council

POSTED March 14, 2014 10:38 p.m.

As the City Council considers making changes to the current at-large election system in the City of Turlock, a series of public workshops will be held throughout town next week, offering residents a chance to learn more and ask questions.
Under the current system, council members are elected to represent the whole city rather than a specific district of the city. Should the council consider an electoral district system, candidates would be voted for in distinct subdivisions of the city, by constituents of that district. Although council members would be voted into office through the newly formed electoral districts, it is typical for Mayoral candidates to remain elected at-large.
Supporters of electoral district elections claim that the process allows community members the opportunity to elect candidates they feel can best represent them, particularly underrepresented minority groups. However, others have argued that council members in an at-large system can be more impartial, rising above the limited perspective of a single district to address problems concerning the whole community.
In 2010, the Turlock Unified School District adopted a resolution to make the change from at-large to "trustee area" elections, with the proposed trustee area maps for seven representatives being drawn by an outside source using 2010 census date.
Should the City Council make the change to area elections, it remains unclear how the districts would be subsequently formed. Although Councilmembers Forrest White and Bill DeHart's seats are up for election this year, the new district elections would not take place until 2016, if approved.
The meetings on electoral districts will be held next week on the following days and locations:
• 6 p.m. on Monday at California State University, Stanislaus Mary Stuart Rogers Building, Room 130 at One University Circle
• 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the Senior Citizens Center, at 1181 Cahill Ave.
• 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Turlock Public Safety Center at 244 N. Broadway
• 11 a.m. on Thursday at Covenant Village, Berg Hall at 2125 N. Olive Ave.




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