Anaheim has scheduled eight public meetings on the mapping of city council districts even as a lawsuit challenging the city's council election system is headed for a trial. (File photo)
The city of Anaheim is moving forward with public meetings to draw maps for council districts even as a lawsuit challenging how the city elects its leaders is headed for a courtroom.
The first of eight meetings to discuss the process is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Anaheim City Council Chambers.
The city is planning to draw two maps -- one with four council districts and another with six. A proposed city charter amendment on next June's ballot asks voters whether to keep the size of the city council at four members or increase it. Each option includes a separately elected mayor.
Anaheim currently elects council members at-large. In July, the council voted to keep the at-large system but establish districts where council members and candidates must live.
It would be a hybrid system - part district, part at-large - since voters are allowed to vote for anyone, not just for candidates who live in their district.
Jose Moreno says that's still not good enough.
"So, you still have a small group of people, a small percentage of voters deciding who sits on council," said Moreno. He's one of three city residents who, along with the ACLU, filed a lawsuit challenging Anaheim's council election system as illegal under the California Voting Rights Act.
Moreno said the current system doesn't give Latinos fair representation. Anaheim is majority Latino, but the city council is all white.
Moreno and others want Anaheim City Council members elected only by voters within districts in which they live.
A judge lifted a temporary stay on the lawsuit after the city council passed the ordinance creating the hybrid election system. The case is scheduled for trial March 17.
In early November, a judge is expected to consider arguments from the city to delay or dismiss the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, the district mapping meetings continue through mid-December.