Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, November 20 , 2018, 12:41 am | Fog/Mist 47º


Santa Barbara Council Begins Review of District Election Maps But Delays Decision

The City Council must adopt a final map when it meets next Monday in order to meet a deadline imposed by the lawsuit settlement agreement

Attorney Barry Cappello, at podium, represents the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that caused Santa Barbara to implement district elections. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, he called most of the district maps submitted by the public “unacceptable” under the plaintiffs’ settlement agreement with the city.
Attorney Barry Cappello, at podium, represents the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that caused Santa Barbara to implement district elections. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, he called most of the district maps submitted by the public “unacceptable” under the plaintiffs’ settlement agreement with the city. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara residents came up with 18 district election maps for a six-way split of the city, but the City Council most likely will adopt one similar, if not identical, to the one submitted by the plaintiffs in the district elections legal battle.

The city’s settlement agreement in the California Voting Rights Act case avoids a trial but forces the city to implement district council elections this November and create six new council districts. The agreement requires two of those districts to have a majority population of Latino citizens of voting age.

Most of the plaintiffs — Frank Banales, Benjamin Cheverez and Jacqueline Inda — were present at Tuesday’s council meeting along with their attorney, Barry Cappello.

Cappello called almost every community-drawn map “unacceptable” under the settlement agreement, saying most of them don’t have two majority-Latino districts. His clients are most supportive of Draft Map 1, which they submitted, and Draft Map 3, which has the same boundaries for the two majority Latino districts on the Westside and Eastside neighborhoods of the city.

“Please, do what you want with the other districts — have at it,” he told the council. “But the two districts that we worked so hard on for our settlement agreement, we’re very protective.”

Cappello insisted he and his clients want to resolve the district maps without going to court. The City Council has to adopt a final map on Monday due to the March 31 deadline imposed by the settlement agreement.

Council members were worn out by the day’s hours-long planning appeal for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History before this discussion even began, so they adjourned at 9 p.m. and delayed the final decision to next week’s meeting.

They reviewed all of the submitted maps with consultant Doug Johnson of the National Demographics Corporation and threw out most of them without consideration, due to Cappello’s criticisms. If the plaintiffs don’t accept the city’s final map, a Superior Court judge will hold a hearing to determine the district maps, according to City Attorney Ariel Calonne.

There was some public and council support for the plan dubbed SB Community Plan 2, which the council will consider along with the two draft plan maps next week.

Taking their cues from public comments, council members said it was important to keep the Oak Park neighborhood and Brinkerhoff Avenue with the downtown district.

People argued against including the Samarkand community with Oak Park or downtown, but Johnson pointed out that it has a large population. If Samarkand moves out of one district into the district with San Roque and Hidden Valley, that population total will have to be offset somewhere else, perhaps cutting San Roque into multiple districts, he noted.

​The City Council is expected to make a final decision at a meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday in the City Hall Council Chambers at 735 Anacapa St.

Draft Map 3 is the map preferred by the plaintiffs in the district elections lawsuit and the map most members of the public used as a base for their own maps submitted to the city. (City of Santa Barbara photo)

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.