PALM DESERT — This city is initiating a redistricting process to shift from the current two-district system to a new five-district system.
The redistricting process will determine where the new City Council district lines will be drawn. The five new districts will impact how voters elect members of the City Council until the next redistricting process following the 2030 Census.
The primary goal when developing election districts is to draw lines that respect neighborhoods, history and geographical elements.
The city has provided numerous ways for the public to get involved.
Palm Desert Greens Democrats are providing another.
On Friday, Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. at the Palm Desert Greens Recreation Center will hold its October Democratic Club meeting. It will feature Kathleen Kelly, mayor of Palm Desert. Additionally, Anthony Mejia, Palm Desert City Clerk, will make a presentation on the five district maps. Mejía is “very knowledgeable” about the redistricting process, said Relph Perry, president of the PDGD. “He was the Palm Springs City Clerk when they were transitioning to district elections,”
There have been several meetings the city has scheduled for this topic.
“Our meeting might be the first district mapping information meeting residents have attended,” Perry told Uken Report.
The most detailed way to view each draft map is using the Interactive Review Map. The link takes you to a website where you can view all of the maps and zoom in and out to see the map details.
Meeting attendees can come to front gate and tell the guard they are with the Democratic Club. They will be let through. Our front gate address is: 73-750 Country Club Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92260. The Recreation Center is one mile north of the front gate on our central street, Palm Greens Parkway.
According to The Desert Sun, the City Council is moving from two districts to five council districts after a majority of the city’s voters — about 53% — supported the move on an advisory ballot measure in last year’s general election.
Under the city’s current setup, residents of District 2 — which includes about 80% of the city’s population — vote for four councilmembers, while the smaller District 1 — which covers the Civic Center area and surrounding neighborhoods — has one representative.
The council is now discussing how to divide District 2 into four distinct districts, while District 1 — which was the product of a voting rights lawsuit filed in 2019 — is expected to remain intact.
Palm Desert had at-large voting for its five council seats until 2019, when two residents filed a lawsuit against the city saying it was in violation of the California Voting Rights Act, which requires cities to ensure minority voting groups have a fair chance for representation.
That lawsuit led to the two-district setup. While Latino residents make up just over a quarter of its population, Karina Quintanilla — one of the suit’s plaintiffs — won election in District 1 after it was created in 2020, making her the city’s first Latina council member.
About 44% of the voting-age population in District 1 is Latino, and city officials say any reductions of its Latino voting-age population could risk a legal challenge, which is why the council is largely focused on drawing four other districts around the existing one, according to The Desert Sun.
- Kathleen Kelly: Kathleen Kelly
- Palm Desert Redistricting: Shutterstock