Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the City of Oakley enacting the districting process now?

The City Clerk received a “demand letter” on March 13, 2020 that asserts that the City’s at-large electoral system dilutes the ability of Latinos (a protected class) to elect candidates of their choice or otherwise influence the outcome of Oakley council elections. As a result, the letter contends the City violates the California Voting Rights Act (“CVRA”) by allowing “racially polarized voting” to occur.

The City currently utilizes an at-large election system, which means that the electors from the entire City choose each of the five Councilmembers. The Councilmembers are eligible to hold office no matter where in the City they reside.  A district-based election system, in contrast, is one in which the City is delineated into separate districts, each with one councilmember who resides in the district and is chosen by the electors residing in that particular district.

On July 13, 2021, Oakley’s City Council adopted a resolution of the intention to transition from At-Large Elections to District-Based Elections for City Council with five districts. This process is called “districting.”

How can I get involved in the districting process?

The districting process was designed to be as transparent and accessible as possible. You are invited to attend one or more of the 5 City Council hearings to provide input in person. Please see below for the schedule. You can also provide input by mail or email or by dropping off materials to the City Clerk. Please see below for contact information.

When and where are the hearings?

The Public Hearings will take place:

  • August 31, 2021 at 6:30pm — Oakley City Council Chambers
  • September 28, 2021 at 7pm — Oakley City Council Chambers
  • October 5, 2021 at 6:30pm — Virtual Meeting
  • October 26, 2021 at 7pm — Oakley City Council Chambers
  • November 9, 2021 at 7pm — Oakley City Council Chambers
  • December 14, 2021 at 7pm — Oakley City Council Chambers

What happens at the public hearings?

The hearings will be led by the demographer’s consulting team and are designed to be as accessible and transparent as possible. Generally, the hearings will have 3 phases. The consultant will begin with a presentation to give an overview of the process and the criteria. After that, there will be an opportunity for the public to ask the consultants clarifying questions, to view the map of the city, and talk to the consultants and other residents to prepare input. Finally, the hearings will resume to allow for formal public input to be presented by attendees. The consultants will be able to show the area that the input focuses on using mapping software and a projector. The consultants will use the public input in constructing the draft maps.

The first two hearings (August 31 and September 28) will provide training on the criteria and process, solicit public input on their communities of interest, and receive direction from the City Council. The third hearing (October 5) will focus on the drawing of the draft map and soliciting more public input. On October 12, the official draft map will be posted onto the website for feedback and comments. The fourth and fifth hearings (October 26 and Nov 9) are to receive feedback on the draft map. The consultants will be able to show the area that the input focuses on using mapping software. The finalized map will be voted on and adopted at the sixth hearing (Dec 14).

How are the districts drawn?

Generally, the following criteria are used to draw the council districts:

  • Each district should contain nearly the same number of people;
  • Boundaries shall be drawn in a manner that complies with the United States Constitution and the Federal Voting Rights Act;
  • Council districts shall consist of contiguous territory in as compact form as practicable;
  • Districts shall follow visible features and boundaries when possible;
  • Council districts shall respect communities of interest as much as practicable. Communities of Interest generally refers to a contiguous population which shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of fair and effective representation;
  • The demographer will disregard the location of incumbents and candidates, as well as the interests of political parties.
  •  In summary, this means the following:
    • We will use a mapping program to construct districts after public input has been received.
    • Census data will be used to find out how many people live in each part of the city and ensure that each district contains roughly the same number of people.
    • Census geography will be used to ensure that the districts are compact and contiguous
    • We will collect and utilize Community of Interest data from the residents of Oakley to use in the building of districts.
    • We will not use any address information for current council members or potential candidates or use political party affiliation or information in the drawing of districts.

How many people should be in each district?

As counted by the 2020 Census, the City of Oakley had a total population of 43,357 because the decennial census is the only survey that counts everyone, we have to use those data to draw districts. There will be 5 council districts. To figure out the ‘ideal population’ for each council district, take the total population 43,357 and divide it by the number of districts (5) which equals approximately 8,671 persons.

Do we use the number of voters to draw districts?

Districts are drawn using the total population as counted by the last census. Everyone who was counted, irrespective of age, residency status or other demographics has to be assigned to a district. Districts are not equalized using voters, registered voters or citizens.

What information do you need from me?

One of the criteria to draw maps is called “Communities of Interest” or COI. Because there are no datasets available for Communities of Interest, we appreciate your help to define them for the City of Oakley. A COI is a group of people in a defined geographic location that share a common bond or interest. The City’s districting criteria define Community of Interest as “a contiguous population which shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of fair and effective representation.” Please tell us what defines your Community of Interest, where it is located and why it should stay together. Click here to download the written Communities of Interest Form 

 Communities of Interest forma en español

We have developed a handout that explains this in detail and provided a form to fill out along with a document that explains how to use free online software to make a map.

Why should I get involved in the districting process?

We would like to hear from you so we can make informed decisions about where to draw district lines. Specifically, we need information from you about your neighborhoods and communities of interests. You are the expert who knows your community and neighborhood! If we know the geographic locations of the Communities of Interest in Oakley, we can consider them when drawing lines and we won’t inadvertently split them! Keeping communities together in the same district can help to get more responsive representation.

How do I get answers to additional questions?

If you have more questions, we are available to answer them!

  • You can attend the community meeting or any of the City council hearings
  • Or email your question to:
  • Or mail your question to: Oakley City Hall, 3231 Main Street, Oakley CA, 94561
  • Or call us: 925-625-7013

What is the timeline?

The districting process timeline is prescribed by the California Election Code. Section 10010(b) requires that 2 hearings, no more than 30 days apart, are held prior to the development of a draft map. In order to enable resident participation in this process, the City is holding a third public hearing at which draft maps will be discussed and the council will have an opportunity to make changes to the maps live and in public. Two additional hearings, no more than 45 days apart, are required after a proposed map has been drawn. The entire process generally has to be completed within 90 days after the City Council has passed the resolution of intent, but the City received an extension to 180 days to finalize the new district lines.

Date and Time Hearing Location
August 31, 2021 – 6:30pm Public Hearing 1: Pre-Draft Community Input Oakley City Council Chambers
September 28, 2021 – 7pm Public Hearing 2: Pre-Draft Community Input Oakley City Council Chambers
October 5, 2021 – 6:30pm Public Hearing 3: Map Drafting Virtual Meeting via Zoom
October 12, 2021 Draft Map Posted Online for Comment                                       Click here for draft maps (Updated 10/12/2021)
October 26, 2021 – 7pm Public Hearing 4: Feedback Oakley City Council Chambers
November 9, 2021 – 7pm Public Hearing 5: Feedback and first reading of ordinance Oakley City Council Chambers
December 14, 2021 – 7pm Public Hearing 6: Council Votes on Final Map Oakley City Council Chambers
  • 925-625-7013