Get to Know your City Council
One way to become involved in local politics and to make a change is at the grass roots level by becoming familiar with your City Council Members. Sonoma County is one of 58 counties in California and is made up of nine cities that have anywhere from 5-10 City Council Members each. Every City Council Member represents one District within their own city. These districts are not to be confused with Congressional Districts.
City Districts were established due to The California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (CVRA). This law asserts local at-large voting systems as discriminatory if they “impair the ability of a protected class” or to put it into English: It claimed that certain areas of said city were not represented by the demographic of the neighborhoods they represented. The result is that you can only vote for one person on the ballot for City Council that represents the actual district you reside in.
The basic way a City Council operates is that the members meet and discuss proposed legislation, tax increases and expenditures. The City Council will then hold meetings that are open to constituents who are given the opportunity to weigh in. Then the council decides which items end up being approved and which get defeated. The Mayor has the right to veto and the Council has the right to override the veto. This is how the Federal Government works with the Legislative Branch of the House and the Executive Branch with the President.
Your City Council not only passes laws, but also deals with budgetary issues, taxes and items that can improve your city. These votes are for issues that directly affect you in everyday life. If you know the tendencies of your City Council, you will have a better way of choosing the right person to represent your district in the next election.
Sonoma County Cities:
Cloverdale, Cotati, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Sonoma and Windsor