Redlands 2018 City Council Voting Districts
By John James
Now that a voting district map has been finalized, it is time to begin looking forward to the next City Council election in November 2018. With three seats up for election, the Council makeup as well as its culture has the potential for significant change. The intent of the California Voting Rights Act is to insure elected representation throughout a municipality, school district, County, etc.
Voting districts in Redlands will likely result in a City Council with its collective members having a more diverse view of issues facing the City. This may result in a larger challenge to individual Council Members as they work to come to a consensus on various issues. Meeting the challenge will have great value. Consensus on issues from diverse viewpoints can lead to better decisions, policies and a better overall vision for the City.
However, history has shown that voting districts many times result in division within municipalities. Council members can become focused only on their districts and not the City at large. It is imperative that while future City Council members represent their districts, they must also remember they have the responsibility to look out for the general welfare of the entire City. Without a healthy and vibrant City, individual districts will suffer along with the entire City.
Voting districts have distinct boundary lines. However, Redlands quality of life does not. Simple activities such as commuting to work, shopping, religious worship, attending entertainment venues including the Redlands Bowl and many others are not limited to single districts. The lifestyle that gives Redlands its unique qualities will indiscriminately cut across many districts.
The City’s General Fund budget must also be blind to district boundary lines. Public safety, economic development, streets, parks and other City wide services must support all of the City’s residents, businesses and visitors in a manner that nurtures a healthy and vibrant City.
As potential candidates begin considering the possibility of running for City Council and reaching out to the voters in their respective districts, they need to recognize the importance of the City’s culture, heritage and overall quality of life. As voters begin to evaluate potential candidates, they need to look for City Council candidates who can meet the challenge of district representation while at the same time address the need to preserve and enhance the quality of life in the entire City.