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Burbank’s Electoral System Is Threatened

Burbank’s City Council is considering changing its at-large voting to a district-based system. A letter threatening the city with litigation for violating California’s Voting Rights Act triggered this action.
Burbank’s city attorney does not believe the city is in violation of the CVRA. If adopted, our City Charter will be changed to divide the city into five districts. Voters will only be allowed to vote for one Councilmember per their district versus Burbank’s historic practice of each voter voting for five Councilmembers. This will decrease your elected representation to one from your district.
Few people have heard about this. Among the many problems with district-based voting is if no candidate wishes to run in a given district, the council majority outside your district will appoint a new Councilmember for the vacancy. That’s right, you could wind up with a Councilmember making governmental decisions impacting you and your family that you did not vote for, may not agree with and no one making the appointment can be held accountable because they are from other districts.
This will Balkanize and polarize our city and fracture traditional neighborhoods. I am calling on all Burbank voters who care about preserving their current election process to speak out on this important issue. I am opposed to it and think the City Council should fight the threatened litigation.

David Gordon
Former Mayor

First published in the April 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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