How City Council Members are Chosen in Wildomar, Measures I, J and K (November 2009)

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Proposed city council districts
Three ballot measures (Measure I, J and K) were on the November 3, 2009 ballot for voters in the City of Wildomar in Riverside County, each having to do with how city council members should be chosen.

The City of Wildomar was a recently incorporated city at the time of the vote. The outcome of the votes on Measures I, J and K determined how residents of the city would choose members of the city council. In 2008, voters chose by 57% the method whereby a voter would vote for one council member from the district where that voter lives. The election on November 3, 2009 on Measures I, J and K amounted to a re-consideration of that vote.[1]

The choices were:

  • At-large. This was Measure I, which was approved. Under Measure I, there are no districts. All city council representatives are elected "at-large."
  • By-district. This was Measure J, which was defeated. This was the system that voters approved in 2008. Under this system, residents would have only been able to vote on the candidates running in the district in which the resident lives.
  • From-district. This is Measure K, which was defeated. It would have meant that a voter anywhere in the city could vote for any candidate for city council, but the candidates must come from and represent a specific district.

Election results

Measure I

Measure I
Approveda Yes 1,397 60.45%

Measure J

Measure J
Defeatedd No1,80279.45%
Yes 466 20.55%

Measure K

Measure K
Defeatedd No1,89683.82%
Yes 366 16.18%
These final, certified, results are from the Riverside County elections office.

Supporters of at-large, Measure I

All the then-current members of the city council supported Measure I, the "at-large" option, which won. They said that when voters chose "by-district" elections in 2008, those voters were misinformed.[1]

Arguments in favor of the Measure I option were:

  • Wildomar, with its 30,000 residents, is too small for districts. There are 248 cities in California with a population less than 40,000 and only eight out of those 248 cities have district elections.
  • With city-wide, at-large, elections, voters can choose the most qualified candidates, rather than just the candidates who live in their district.[1]

The editorial board of the Press-Enterprise endorsed Measure I, saying, "A city the size of Wildomar has no need for electing council members by district. Wildomar is a new city, with no history of unfairly denying representation to particular areas or populations. And council members do not represent so many people that city government cannot be responsive. Wildomar voters should be seeking the best candidates to address the enormous challenges of creating a new city, not arbitrarily limiting voters' choices to one council seat instead of all five."[2]

Supporters of J and K

  • Opponents of Measure I asked voters to vote "no" on all three measures. A "no" vote on all three measures was equivalent to a "yes" vote on Measure J, since it would have left the existing system, approved in 2008, in place.[1]

Opponents of Measure I at-large elections also said:

  • The city council insulted their intelligence by asking for another vote on the same question voters already decided in 2008.[1]
  • Members of the city council were trying to protect their seats on the council. As incumbents, they have an advantage in fundraising, and would use this to make city-wide elections financially very difficult for challengers.[1]

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