Chico Council: Proposed Districts Up For Debate

Jan 6, 2020

One of six different proposals being exhibited at a public hearing during Tuesday's (Jan.7) Chico City Council meeting that would divide Chico into seven city council districts.
Credit City Council Agenda Report

One of the final opportunities to critique proposed council districts in Chico is happening Tuesday evening.


Six different proposals would divide Chico into seven city council districts, eliminating the current method where voters select all councilors city wide.  

The move follows a Republican political consultant’s threat to sue, alleging citywide council elections racially discriminate against Latino voters.  


Michael Wagaman, principal at Sacramento-based consulting firm Wagaman Strategies, was hired to create options in addition to maps submitted by the public. It’s not a simple task, he said. 


“There’s no such thing as a perfect map in redistricting, so, for example if you keep community-A whole, it may force you to split community-B,” Wagaman said. 


The final result will likely incorporate ideas from most of the proposed maps, he said. All six of Wagaman’s proposals use major roads and waterways to divide districts. Each district would have between 12,500-13,500 residents. All of the proposed districts have white majorities.  


The 2010 U.S. Census listed Chico’s population as 81 percent white, 15 percent Hispanic or Latino, 4.2 percent Asian, 2 percent African American and 1.5 percent Native American. 


Officials intend to fast track the decision. According to a proposed timetable, the final vote on the matter will occur Feb. 11. The new districts should be established well ahead of the November election. 


Also on the agenda is a proposal to tighten Chico’s noise ordinance as a decade-long dispute with a local pedicab driver continues. The pedicab driver, Mike Griffith, better known as Mike G-Ride, has a loud stereo system that has generated complaints from downtown merchants. The council attempted to address the issue in 2010, approving a noise ordinance. 


Additionally, Vice Mayor Alex Brown will ask the council to agree to discuss rescinding the city’s sit/lie ordinance” at a future meeting.  


The meeting gets underway at 6 p.m. in the council chamber, 421 Main Street.