As the City of Turlock prepares to make the change from at-large citywide elections to a new district-based system, the City Council will be holding two special meetings throughout the month of May to collect community input on the initial draft district boundary proposals prepared by consultant National Demographics Corporation.
In addition to providing information to the public regarding why the Council opted for a district-based electoral system, the special Council meetings will also review federal requirements for the proposed districts while discussing other criteria and factors governing the creation of the new boundaries.
The proposed boundary maps, which can be found on the City of Turlock website, include three draft plans – Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. Each of the proposed boundary maps breaks the city into four quadrants – each with populations of approximately 17,000 persons – where district residents will vote for one council member to represent their district.
According to the brief descriptions of the maps provided by the National Demographics Corporation, the proposed draft boundaries are as follows:
— Plan A, which has a total population deviation of only 2.53 percent, divides the city into as compact a set of quadrants as possible within the equal population requirement. Although California State University, Stanislaus is in District 3, the campus is separated from the housing across Crowell Road in District 4. Downtown Turlock is divided between Districts 1 and 2 along the railroad tracks. Major roads and the railroad are used as district borders in almost all places throughout the city, and all of the districts are highly compact.
— With a total population deviation of only 0.95 percent, Plan B creates landmark-centric districts around Downtown Turlock, District 2, and CSU Stanislaus, District 4. District 1 picks up the eastern neighborhoods between D2 and D4, while District 3 picks up the northern and far western neighborhoods west of Crowell Road. Similar to Plan A, major roads and the railroad are used as district borders in almost all places. Although Districts 1, 2 and 4 are highly compact, District 3 is reasonably compact.
— Differing from the other proposed maps, Plan C is focused on Downtown Turlock with all four districts including territory along Main Street. As a result, Districts 1, 3, and 4 are less compact than in Draft Plans A and B, while District 2 is identical to that in Plan A. CSU Stanislaus, including the housing across Crowell Road, is in District 3. With a total population deviation of only 1.34 percent, the quadrants in Plan C are as compact as possible within the equal population requirement and the goal of having each district include Downtown Turlock, while using major roads and the railroad as borders.
Encouraging Turlock residents to review the proposed draft boundaries online prior to the special meetings, the City Council will provide members of the public with ample time to provide input to the consultant and council members on each of the boundary proposals which will also be provided for review during the meetings. According to City Clerk Kellie Weaver, all public input will be taken into consideration in the development of the final districting plan.
In addition to receiving input on district elections, the council is also interested in receiving community input on critical issues such as roadways, public safety and water needs during the special meetings.
The workshops will be held at 6 p.m. on May 7 at the Turlock Public Safety Center at 244 N. Broadway, and at 6 p.m. on May 15 at Pitman High School Cafeteria at 2525 W. Christoffersen Parkway.
To review the proposed district boundary maps and information about council election systems, visit www.ci.turlock.ca.us.