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Government and Politics

Santa Barbara working to quickly create City Council districts before November elections

Flickr member Damian Gadal

The City of Santa Barbara is working on plans to set up new city council districts for the upcoming November 2015 election.

Until now, the city's council members were elected at-large—meaning any registered voter in the city could cast a ballot for any of the council seats.

The move to districts is the result of a court ruling and settlement under the state's 2001 voting rights act.

Kristy Schmidt is Santa Barbara's Administrative Services Director. She says the city is currently collecting information from the public on forming the geographic boundaries.

"Each of the six districts need to contain about the same population level, but we're also looking for communities of interest," said Schmidt. "We're looking for at least two majority minority—or majority Hispanic—districts."

Schmidt says they'll also be looking to form districts around other cohesive neighborhood attributes, like school districts.

Public suggestions will be collected in writing through Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m., and through 5:00 p.m. Friday via the city's website. Public comment will be heard at council meetings later this month.