Members of Menlo Park's new Districting Advisory Committee took the oath of office Jan. 22 and laid the ground rules for their upcoming work over the next month.
The committee is racing against the clock to fairly divide Menlo Park into electoral districts in response to a lawsuit threat the city received in August, alleging that its at-large voting system makes it harder for the city's minority residents to elect candidates they prefer. The city must switch to a district system by the next election or be at risk of a lawsuit.
Committee members are to come up with recommendations for district boundaries that would fairly divide the city's population into five or six electoral districts that will ultimately go before the City Council.
In addition to taking the oath of office on Monday, committee members spoke with consultants from the National Demographics Corporation about their assignment and learned about the rules of transparency they will have to follow, including abiding by the Brown Act, disclosing their financial interests and informing the acting City Clerk, Clay Curtin, about discussions on the topic they have outside of the group's meetings.
The committee's next two meetings are scheduled for:
● Monday, Jan. 29, 7:15 p.m., at City Hall, 701 Laurel St. Access the agenda here.
● Friday, Feb. 2, 1 p.m., at City Hall, 701 Laurel St.
Others are tentatively scheduled for Monday, Feb. 5; Monday, Feb. 12; Thursday, Feb. 15; and Thursday, Feb. 22.