The Paso Robles City Council hit the ground running in the new year. The public sat in meetings that surpassed three hours while the council members discussed major topics that included the potential of becoming a charter city, changing voting procedures and the long-awaited vote on the short-term rentals ordinance.
The City also made a proclamation to honor Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his leadership in the civil rights movement. Rev. King preached the importance of nonviolence during protests and civil disobedience while striving to change social, political and legislative norms of racial segregation and prejudice. On April 4, 1968, King joined in martyrdom the more than 40 murdered black and white men, women and children who lost their lives during the tumultuous time. Former President Ronald Reagan signed into law Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday in 1983. The holiday is observed on the third Monday in January.
The City’s proclamation read in part, “Whereas, with profound faith in our nation’s promise, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a nonviolent movement that urged our country’s leaders to expand the reach of freedom and provide equal opportunity for all, promoting the belief at the heart of our country’s founding: that humble citizens, armed with little but faith, can come together to change the world and remake an America that more closely aligns with our highest ideals.”
In the summer of 2018, the City was challenged by a letter that proclaimed the City’s voting procedures suppressed the representation of minorities, namely Latinos that comprise approximately one-third of the town’s populace.
The Council continues to seek recommendations on different types of voting methods that if adopted, in time, might forestall the City from being sued. In January, the board listened to a presentation by Michael Latner, Cal Poly political science associate professor, that detailed various ways of counting ballots.
Latner recommended that ranked choice voting system that allows a voter to designate and prioritize multiple choices on their ballot.
“In my view,” said Latner, “a simple solution and effective solution is ranked choice voting … I would strongly urge you to adopt rank choice voting.”
For more information on the process and progress of voting options, visit