District Elections in Fullerton

June 6th Press Conference


The Korean Resource Center, a community organization based in Buena Park and Los Angeles is participating the ongoing discussion to transition city elections in Fullerton from the current at-large district elections to a district based elections system. We encourage you to participate in the hearings and join us to ensure heightened civic engagement across all communities in Fullerton.

District based elections ensures that the voices of all voters across the city are represented in City governance. KRC has been organizing and educating voters in Fullerton for over ten years, and has been working with local groups including OCCCO, OCAPICA, ACLU and AAAJ to increase civic engagement since 2013.

Please join us! We are organizing a Korean American seniors’ meeting on Friday April 18 at our office, and also participating in the upcoming hearings and educating voters about the ballot measure that will ask voters for final approval of the proposed districting plan.

Myung Shim Lee and Jonathan Paik, Korean Resource Center
jonathan [at] krcla.org 714-869-7624

Related Links

So what does city council even do?

City Council is responsible to the City's residents for all city programs and services, as well as local policy decisions affecting City residents in a wide number of areas. Examples include:

  • Access to Clean Water
  • Police Accountability
  • Land use / Development
  • Business Development

How can these issues impact neighborhoods differently throughout the city?

How do they make decisions? 

  • Currently, five city council members vote on decisions to execute plans and projects that are in the best interest of the city of Fullerton.
  • The city council meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month, and these meetings are public!
  • But are the city council members currently elected where they are able to represent all the diverse neighborhoods in Fullerton right now? 

What’s going on with City Council Elections in Fullerton? 

  • Fullerton currently uses “at-large” elections to elect its City Council. 
  • Everyone in the city votes for every candidate. Every member of City Council represents the whole city. 
  • However, the at-large system in Fullerton limits the ability of city councilmembers to properly represent the concerns and issues of all residents of the city!

How will district elections affect you?

  • The City would be divided into five districts. 
  • Starting in 2018, City Council candidates would run to represent a specific district. A candidate must live in the district he or she wants to represent. 
  • This allows city council members to more accurately represent the diverse and culturally rich neighborhoods located across Fullerton.
  • District elections mean that each member of City Council will come from a district you live in.
    • He or she will understand the unique needs of your community and neighborhood. 
    • Imagine how great it would be to have a system that ensures your elected official is your neighbor!
  • District elections gives Fullerton residents a stronger voice voice
    • It will specify a leader from a particular district that residents can approach and talk to
    • What are some problems that we can think of that can impact one neighborhood in the community and not the others?
  • District lines make it easier to elect lawmakers of the community’s choice. 
  • With district-based elections, it will be harder for a City Councilmember to get elected without the support of your community and neighborhood.
  • How will district elections affect you?
  • This way, electing a member of the community is possible. Impact on city politics and policy will happen.
  • District lines must keep your community intact for you to be powerful.

Who will draw the lines?

  • David Ely, our contracted demographer, will be creating proposals around how the district lines will be drawn.
  • We will need Community members LIKE YOU from Fullerton to speak with David Ely around how to draw district lines.

How Can We Give Feedback

  • There will be two rounds of four (4) meetings each.  One meeting will be held in each quadrant (NE, NW, SE, and SW) of the city.  Each meeting is open to ALL residents of the city.
  • The city must be intentional about engaging  ALL communities. This includes hosting multiple meetings in key parts of the the city as well as during times convenient to community members

Why do People need to participate in the line-drawing process to ensure a good outcome?

Because YOU’RE the EXPERT!

Communities of Interest

  • A community of interest is a contiguous population which shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation
  • Examples include:
    • Urban area, a rural area, an industrial area, or an agricultural area, and those common to areas in which the people share similar living standards, etc
    • Communities of interest shall not include relationships with political parties, Incumbents, or political candidates.

Questions to Think About

  • Where do people live? Where do they worship? Where do they spend social time? Where do they work? Where do children go to school? 
  • Where are the community spaces such as parks, community centers, and shopping centers? 
  • Do neighbors and share the same needs and interests in schools, housing, transit, health conditions, and land use?
  • Do people share a cultural or racial background or identity with others? Do they share a language with others?
  • Do they have a similar concerns to others around me because of money/income? Are they similar because of similar socio-economic status, education levels, housing?
  • Which part of Fullerton are you living in now and how long have you been living there?
  • What are the characteristics that make up “your” community and neighborhood in Fullerton?
  • When challenges arise in your neighborhood (park cleanliness, street lights, potholes), who are you inclined to approach with these problems with?
    If there were 1-2 points that you wanted the demographer to know about Fullerton, what should they know and why?
  • In groups of 3-5, have folks work through guiding questions and have them work through these questions together. After 20-30 minutes, debrief as a large group to have a few people from the audience share their 1-2 points of what they want the demographer to know and why.