The Fontana City Council approved on July 25 a motion to designate Draft 6 as the map to be used in the city's electoral district ordinance, which will be officially introduced in August.
The vote was 3-2, with Mayor Acquanetta Warren and Councilmembers John Roberts and Jesse Armendarez supporting the motion and Jesse Sandoval and Michael Tahan opposing it.
The ordinance also decided when the four districts for City Council will be up for election. Districts 1 and 4 will go to the voters in November of 2018, while 2 and 3 will be voted on in November of 2020.
In recent months, the City Council created several drafts of maps to be used for the city's historic change to a district-based election process. Previously, voting for all City Council members has taken place on an at-large basis. The mayor's seat will continue to be voted on in an at-large manner.
“I support map 6 because I think it is the best attempt to create districts that have representatives, and is an element of north, and center and south. I want to have districts that touch on as many of these areas as possible, because we need to elect folks that care about the entire city while achieving the legal requirements of district creation,” said Warren.
The vote came after some attendees at the public hearing requested that the City Council take into consideration analyzing three new maps, which were developed by a demographer for free with the idea of increasing representation. Also, attendees asked if the city could be divided into seven districts instead of four, but Warren rejected that view, saying that more districts would mean more "chaos."
"If we are to maintain any semblance of cohesion on this council, then in the best interest of the city of Fontana, we're better off with fewer districts than more districts," Warren said.
However, Tahan expressed his displeasure, saying that he believed Warren misled community members into believing that the purpose of the public hearing was to receive input from residents that would be considered in the final vote. Instead, Warren arrived at the meeting with a prepared statement and was already prepared to vote on map 6 as her choice, Tahan claimed.
"It looks like it's being orchestrated in a way that it doesn't make a difference what the public says," Tahan said.
He said to Warren: "You're bullying us again in decisions, and I will not stand for that."
Warren responded: "What you consider as bullying is called leadership. And I think it's way overboard for you to tell me personally what I hear, believe, and see, but that's you."
Warren said that there had been ample opportunities for residents to provide input in this process during a series of previous public hearings.
One of the residents who spoke at the meeting was disappointed that additional remarks by community members were not considered.
“The city is very diverse and the City Council had the opportunity to show that they are working for us, but it failed. I feel like there was no voice. You have a public hearing, you collect public comments and you disregard it with a pre-written motion. You already decided what you were going to do before the meeting began. What was the point of the whole process?” asked Amparo Miramontes.
Warren said the drafts considered by the City Council were created based on the 2010 U.S. Census and that after the 2020 Census results are announced, the City Council could revisit the issue of adjusting the map of the districts.