City Council Representation in Laguna Beach – Are District Elections Fairer?

Laguna Beach City Council members are elected “at large,” which means each is supposed to represent the interests of all citizens equally.  However as most Lagunans recognize, the different neighborhoods that comprise Laguna Beach are very different and experience very different issues and challenges. For example, those folks living in the Canyon area have different concerns from those living in Emerald Bay or Arch Beach.

The different issues and priorities of residents in these different neighborhoods most likely cannot be fully appreciated by someone who doesn’t live in the neighborhoods. This fact causes LagunaBeachCHAT to seriously consider that the residents of our city may be served better by DISTRICT-based city council members. District (or precinct/ward) based elections ensure that the person representing your interests on the City Council comes from your neighborhood and therefore is likely to better understand your issues and be more passionate about them. District-based elections also tend to lessen the influence of big-money election contributors and favor the retail-style of politics where candidates knock on a lot of doors to make themselves and their positions known.

District-based elections are becoming more common in Orange County. Currently, 7 cities have moved to district-based City Council elections (Anaheim, Garden Grove, Buena Park, San Juan Capistrano, Fullerton, Costa Mesa and Placentia).  And of course, all Orange County voters are already familiar with district elections when they cast their vote for the Board Of Supervisors, (Laguna Beach is in District 5, currently represented by Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, former Mayor of Dana Point). LagunaBeachCHAT believes that the time has come to seriously consider moving to a district-based representation system for Laguna Beach. Please leave us a message with your thoughts, since we’ll be revisiting this topic throughout 2017.

Below is a map of Laguna Beach with YELLOW dots showing where our current 5 City Council persons live. Does this distribution look fair and equitable for all Laguna Beach neighborhoods?