I understand the legal requirement to switch to district elections, and applaud those councils who are proceeding in the best interests of their cities. Sadly, for Belmont residents, the City Council is exploiting this transition to invent a four-year elected mayor position, grabbing one council seat for themselves and forcing their electorate into four districts instead of five. First, adding a citywide elected position is contrary to the intent of the lawsuit — which was meant to make elected office more accessible to marginalized groups. It means one less seat open to a newcomer. Second, running for citywide mayor will require resources not available to most candidates, and competing for one of five council positions was a lot easier than competing for a single elected role. Most importantly, it robs neighborhoods of a representative district; it forces a merger of disparate neighborhoods that do not share common interests, ensuring distrust and opposing motives going forward. What is the new word for “gerrymandering?” Belmont councilmembers have not explained any benefit to creating a four-year elected mayor position aside from further entrenching their own political interests.