City Council to reconvene Tuesday and consider schedule for district-based election public hearings

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on Feb. 26. Dan Watson/The Signal
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The Santa Clarita City Council is expected to reconvene Tuesday for its first regular meeting since it declared a local emergency on March 13 due to the coronavirus outbreak, which canceled meetings and closed City Hall. 

With safety guidelines limiting public gatherings, members of the community may observe the meeting via livestream at santa-clarita.com/agendas or watch on Channel 20, and participate by submitting comments at santa-clarita.com/writtencomment and to speak via santa-clarita.com/speakersignup at least two hours before the start of the 6 p.m. meeting. 

Along with several other items on Tuesday’s agenda, council members will consider amending a schedule for the public hearings related to its recent announcement of its intention to switch from at-large to district-based elections, as well as consider approving a draft of its 2020-21 annual action plan and funding of $1.45 million in Community Development Block Grants that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers on an annual basis. 

Public hearings

Public hearings for the community to provide feedback on suggested district map ideas could take place anytime after May 15 — the expiration date of the county’s safer-at-home-order — and by June 30, should council members adopt a resolution of that schedule Tuesday.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the City Council had until June 18 to complete public hearings based upon the safe harbor deadlines under the Elections Code.  

The state’s March 20 and April 9 orders limiting public gatherings and requiring physical distancing suspended and delayed the time frames set forth in the Elections Code, meaning the city no longer has to complete the hearings by June 18. 

But in order to accommodate a city by-district election in November, Santa Clarita will have to provide the county with finalized districting information by June 30. 

A brief timeline shows a schedule of the first public hearing for May 19 before maps are drafted by a city-hired demographer, a second hearing on May 26, the third one on June 9 with review of draft maps, the fourth hearing on June 17 with an introduction of the ordinance that establishes the district elections and includes district boundaries, followed by the final hearing on June 23, when the council would be expected to adopt the ordinance. 

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