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Smart Voter
Los Angeles County, CA June 5, 2012 Election
Measure B
City Council District Formation
City of Compton

Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 3,563 / 64.40% Yes votes ...... 1,970 / 35.60% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Jun 29 2:14pm, 100.00% of Precincts Reporting (53/53)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall the City Charter be amended to provide that each member of the City Council (except for the mayor) be elected by his or her home district and only by the registered voters of that district?

Impartial Analysis from CRAIG J. CORNWELL,
City Attorney
The Compton City Charter, sections 500 and 501, specifies that each member of the City Council, except the Mayor, must reside within the district he or she represents, but can win election if he or she receives a majority of the votes cast from throughout the City of Compton ("City"). This is called an "At-Large" electoral system. Measure B, a City Council of the City of Compton measure, seeks majority voter approval to amend sections 500 and 501 of the City Charter to change the City's electoral system from an "At-Large" system to a "By-District" system.

In a By-District system, each member of the City Council (except the Mayor) would still have to reside within the district he or she represents, but could only be elected to the City Council if he or she achieves a majority of the votes within that district.

This amendment would also mandate that following each decennial federal census, and using the census data as a basis, the council shall, by ordinance or resolution, adjust the boundaries of any or all of the council districts of the City so that the districts shall be as nearly equal in population as may be in order to comply with the applicable provisions of Section 1973 of Title 42 of the United States Code.

A "Yes" vote to approve this measure would change the City of Compton's At-Large voting system for the four (4) Councilmember seats, to a By-District voting system.

A "No" vote would maintain the current At-Large voting system.

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Arguments For Measure B Arguments Against Measure B
We urge you to vote Yes on Measure B because it will improve our system for electing City Councilmembers. Compton now uses an at-large method of electing City Councilmembers, which means that people who don't live in your district get to choose who represents you on the City Council. If Measure B passes, City Councilmembers will continue to reside in their districts, but will be elected only by those who know them best + the voters of their district.

We are voting Yes on Measure B because voters should be allowed to choose leadership from their own neighborhoods. District elections empower residents because each City Councilmember is accountable to people living in his or her own district + not to political or economic interests, but to the constituents of their own neighborhoods.

If elected by district, City Councilmembers would be in a better position to assess the problems and conditions that exist in the district in which they reside. City Councilmembers would act as true advocates for their community.

District voting brings government and democracy closer to home. It enables candidates to meet face-to-face with voters in their district and explain their views to more residents.

District-based voting will cut down on the funds necessary to campaign and run for office. As a result, more Compton residents would have the ability to run for City Council. These "fairness" factors should encourage greater participation and increase voter turnout, which has been too low for many years.

The will of the majority of voters in your district would be heard and not drowned out by voters in other districts. PLEASE VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION B!

Educator, Compton USD

Graduate Studies Advisor

Clinical Social Worker

Rebuttal to Arguments For
The City of Compton is just over ten square miles in total area and the vision and quality of service should be and is the same for all councilpersons. The people urging you to vote for measure B, by their own words, are trying to divide the citizens of Compton "The will of the majority of voters in your district etc." For thirty plus years I attended just about every city council meeting as City Clerk and I never saw citizens from one council district be drowned out by citizens from another district, as a matter of fact the opposite was/is true. As an example, when the councilperson and citizens from the third district brought the ban smoking in city parks issue to the full city council all members votes for the ban.

The passage of this measure has the potential to add two more council seats.

If we lived in Los Angeles then their arguments may be valid, as an example the citizens of West Los Angeles have very little in common with the citizens who live in Wilmington. Living in Compton and if you drive, you most likely have traveled the full length of our city, north to south (El Segundo to the 91 freeway) or east to west (Atlantic to a few blocks west of Central) on any given day.

I respectfully request that you join me in VOTING NO on MEASURE B; it is not in the best interest of our community.

Thank You,

Retired Compton City Clerk

To my fellow citizens of the City of Compton, my name is Charles Davis and I was your elected City Clerk from 1973 until my retirement in 2003. I have conducted elections and worked with city councilpersons, when councilpersons were elected citywide and when they were elected by district.

While on the face of the proposed change to the Compton City Charter, changing the way we elect our City Councilpersons from at large, where all registered voters in the city vote, to elections where only those citizens in one given council district elect a councilperson, would foster better district representation, the proponents would lead you to believe. In actuality this charter change would achieve and create the following problems, to name a few, (1) cause more dissention between councilpersons (2.) subject your city councilperson to be controlled by a few citizens (3.) increase the, you scratch my back and I will scratch yours syndrome, among the councilpersons vs. doing what is good for the total city.

I respectfully request that you join me in VOTING NO on this proposition; it is not in the best interest of our community.

Thank You,

Retired Compton City Clerk

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The opposition to Measure B provides no facts to support the claim that district-based elections will cause discord or divide the community. These assertions are unfounded and untrue. In fact, all but one of California's 58 counties effectively use district-based systems to elect their county officials.

Switching from at-large to district-based elections will positively impact ALL Compton residents and makes sure that City Councilmembers are more accountable to each of the citizens in their district. Government is brought closer to home because Councilmembers can focus on the unique needs and concerns of the people in their own district.

District-based voting will cut down on the funds necessary to campaign and run for office. Therefore, more Compton residents, regardless of their income, will have the ability to run for City Council.

District-based elections will increase voter turnout and empower residents so that they have a voice in who represents them. Because of all these benefits, many cities, including the city of Los Angeles, have switched to district-based elections.

Councilmembers should be elected by you and your neighbors in your district.

People who do not live in your district should not get to make that choice for you.

Help us to make sure the voice of voters in your district will be heard! Vote YES on Measure B!

Mayor, City of Compton

Committee for Yes on Measure B

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Created: July 26, 2012 13:00 PDT
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