Now that the Oceanside City Council is currently on a path to carve up the city into four (4) districts, the question has to be asked, “Why not five districts?”
Under the currently proposed plan, the office of mayor would continue to be voted upon “at large” by Oceanside voters whereas each of the four district council member would be voted upon by voters in his or her district
But, what if five (5) districts were formed? Using this approach to districting, the position of mayor would no longer be elected. The mayor’s position would be passed annually to another district council member, rotating the leadership position by a vote of the city council. This would potentially provide the opportunity for each council member to serve in the role of mayor during their four-year term.
Here are the benefits of this recommendation:
- Each council would be accountable to a district constituency
- Each council member would have the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to lead as mayor
- Having five districts would mitigate against the need to add a district as the city’s population density increases in the future
- Assignment of council members to boards, commissions, and committees might be more cooperatively accomplished
- This approach may result in the city council working closer together as a team
The idea of passing the mayor’s baton around the dais is not new; it was done so for years in Oceanside when all councilmembers were elected “at large.”
Arranging a five (5) district city with a rotating mayor makes all elected officials on the council equally accountable to a specific electorate. As long as we’re reorganizing everything, this is an idea worth consideration.
Lloyd Prosser, Oceanside
Tom Morrow, Oceanside