January 17, 2010

City Council Decides Ranked Choice Voting and Measure WW Funds on Tuesday

The San Leandro City Council will decide at its meeting on January 19, 2010, whether to join Oakland and Berkeley by adopting ranked choice voting (also known as instant runoff voting). The other big agenda item is whether to accept the recommendations put forward by the Recreation and Parks Commission for the use of nearly $4 million in Measure WW funds.

Ranked choice voting enables candidates to be elected by majority vote without holding costly runoff elections (see here for an explanation). Runoff elections have cost the City of San Leandro nearly $200,000 since 2005. Although it will cost more initially ($52,000 more this year, according to a staff report), ranked choice voting will become cheaper than the current runoff system by 2014 and continue to save money into the future.

On the question of whether ranked choice voting does not confirm to the City's charter, the City Attorney said that, "it is possible that under a rank choice voting system the number of votes that the winning candidate receives may be less than a majority of the number of actual voters who participated in the election. Such a result is consistent with and does not conflict with the City Charter because under a rank choice voting system the winning candidate who receives a majority of "votes cast" for that office in a particular round (1, 2, or 3) will have received fifty percent (50%) plus one of the continuing ballots that contained the votes cast for that office."

After California Secretary of State Debra Bowen approved Alameda County's system in December 2009, Oakland adopted ranked choice voting on January 5, and Berkeley is likely to adopt it as well in late January or early February 2010. According to an article in the Berkeley Daily Planet, the Berkeley City Manager has sent a letter to the San Leandro City Council "indicating that Berkeley is prepared is move forward with IRV in November 2010."

The City Council will also decide how to spend nearly $4 million it received as its share from the Measure WW East Bay Parks bond passed in November 2008. Mayor Tony Santos established an ad-hoc committee chaired by Vice Mayor Joyce Starosciak with Michael Gregory and Diana Souza. After meeting three times and with no public input, the ad-hoc committee recommended that most of the funds be used for a competitive lap pool at Washington Manor Aquatic Center. When it became clear that the recommendations didn't have the support of a majority of the City Council, the Recreation and Parks Commission was tasked with coming up with recommendation. After two community meetings, the recommendations from the public were brought forward to and accepted by the Commission. Those recommendations are:

  • Toyon Park Play Equipment

  • Marina Park - Group Picnic Areas

  • Par Course Improvements

  • Marina Park Irrigation Improvements

  • Marina Dog Park (cheaper option)

  • San Leandro Ball Park Locker/Restroom Refurbishment

  • Stenzel Park Drainage Project

  • Bleachers at the Pacific Sports Complex

  • Resurface Skate Park with concrete

  • Resurface park pathways

The City Council meeting will be held at 7pm on January 19, 2010, at 835 E. 14th Street in San Leandro. For the complete agenda, click here.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at January 17, 2010 6:51 PM | TrackBack
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