The Desert Hot Springs City Council selected its map for its first district-level elections.
The board approved Map 1.1 at its Tuesday meeting. Mayor Scott Matas said the map was considered the one that held the most neighborhoods together.
“If you really try to separate neighborhoods and create neighborhoods of people who will represent their neighborhoods, I think 1.1, the comments that were made by Mr. Anderson, Mr. Ruiz and those neighborhoods, really accomplished what we had to accomplish,” Matas said.
Matas also said the position of mayor will remain free, representing the entire city. Desert Hot Springs will have four council districts.
Council members will return on April 19 for a second reading of the motion and, if approved again, will adopt the map.
Map 1.1 was described as the most balanced of the drafts available to the board.
The other map that was considered was Map 1, however, as pointed out by Matas, it would separate some neighborhoods.
“It’s as close as you can get,” Pro Tem Mayor Gary Gardner said of the population breakdown for Map 1. “But it ignores neighborhoods.”
Desert Hot Springs officials have been working to move to district-level elections since November 2021, when the city received a letter from attorneys representing the Southwest Voter Registration Project. The group claimed
that the City’s general electoral system could violate the CVRA and threaten to sue if the City does
not voluntarily switch to a district-based electoral system to elect its city council.
On December 8, 2021, the city council declared its intention to move to district elections. Four public workshops were held between February and March to obtain community feedback on the district maps.
To learn more about the city’s process, visit: cityofdhs.org/district-elections
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