Currently, Sunnyvale has only at-large, community-wide voting, which makes the cost to run an outreach campaign virtually prohibitive, especially since the real estate developers have recently decided to support the campaigns. This does not give minorities (or anyone else) an opportunity to win seats and have representation.
After a challenge by a legal team and the Asian Law Caucus, it became apparent that Sunnyvale has to move away from at-large city-wide council seats and go to district elections in order to comply with the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA).
So, it was determined that we needed our seven City Council members elected from smaller areas, i.e districts. It would have been a relatively straight-forward matter to move to a 7 single-member district solution.
But, on June 18th, 5 members of the Sunnyvale City Council would not comply with that requirement without essentially adding a rider to the new election process to include an at-large directly elected mayor for one seat, in opposition to the feedback from the outreach campaign council authorized and staff conducted, which indicated that the public wanted no at large mayor (who’s seat we all know will simply be a bought). Those 5 chose to put forward only one option on the March ballot: 6 districts and an at-large directly elected mayor. It does not take much imagination to see why they would want this powerful role.
The 5 CC members who voted for this were heavily supported by real estate development dollars to win their current seat on the Sunnyvale City Council. The two City Council Members who voted against this proposal were not supported by real estate development money to win their seat.
The fair election objective for minority voters to field and elect a locally supported candidate of their choice inherent in the CVRA is not in line with the path they have put us on.
The Sunnyvale council majority has made the wrong choice!