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Los Angeles City Council Begins Its Portion of Redistricting Process
By City News Service
Published November 2, 2021

This map outlines the council district boundaries recommended by the redistricting commission. (laccrc2021.org)

The Los Angeles City Council today will begin its portion of the redistricting process with a presentation from the City Council Redistricting Commission and a vote to create an Ad Hoc Redistricting Committee.

The Redistricting Commission used data from the U.S. Census to update the city’s districts, with each City Council member getting about 260,000 people to represent. The council now has the chance to make changes to the map before adopting final borders for the 15 districts to go into effect on Jan. 1.

City Council President Nury Martinez said that the drastic changes proposed by the commission “confused and alienated thousands” and that the city “cannot reasonably move forward” with the proposed map.

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“It’s clear that too many voices across the city have yet to be heard and we have an immovable deadline,” Martinez said. “We cannot reasonably move forward with a map that raises concerns for so many marginalized communities when this will be so influential in the lives of all Angelenos for the next decade. If we’re looking to build a stronger, more equitable Los Angeles, we need a map that reflects that.”

On Oct. 21, the City Council Redistricting Commission voted to finalize its recommendations for a draft map of revised council district boundaries, but did not designate which district would be District 2 and which would be District 4. The City Council members from those two districts, Paul Krekorian and Nithya Raman, seconded Martinez’s motion to create an Ad Hoc Redistricting Commission, which will be considered on Tuesday.

The draft map moved forward by the 21-member commission had already been criticized by Raman and Krekorian for drastically redefining their districts, and under the recommendations, one of them would end up with entirely new constituents in the west San Fernando Valley.

Raman represents parts of Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Hollywood Hills, Hancock Park and Sherman Oaks, among other neighborhoods. Krekorian represents East San Fernando Valley neighborhoods, including North Hollywood, Studio City and Sun Valley.

The draft map sent to the council would have either Krekorian or Raman representing a district that encompasses parts of both their current districts — the Hollywood Hills, North Hollywood, Valley Glen and part of Los Feliz. The other would represent an entirely new district with areas of Canoga Park, Winnetka, Reseda and Lake Balboa in the west San Fernando Valley.

Martinez said the council would work to ensure the map “does right by all communities and Angelenos,” but there are calls, including from the Redistricting Commission, for the City Council to be removed from the redistricting process in future years.

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Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, as part of his mayoral campaign, and the Redistricting Committee called for a fully independent body to be assigned to redraw the council districts in 2031.

“Power over council boundaries has got to be in the hands of the people — not self-interested politicians controlling the process behind the scenes to protect their power,” Feuer said on Monday.

“It’s gotten so bad that commissioners themselves support my proposal for a truly independent panel to draw up districts. And cutting council districts in half will bring council members much closer to the communities they serve, leading to the more responsive and accountable leadership voters so desperately want.”

California Common Cause, a nonprofit that seeks to advance democracy in the state, also called for the redistricting process to be removed from the hands of the council. “A redistricting process controlled by politicians behind the scenes is fundamentally flawed,” said Jonathan Mehta Stein, executive director of California Common Cause.

“Despite our repeated calls for greater independence and transparency, the City Council has willfully ignored those calls to ensure that they and their staff can continue to manipulate the process to their advantage.

This dynamic will never serve the interests of the voters. It’s time for the City of Los Angeles to follow the state and the county and form a fully independent redistricting commission.” The City Council will begin its redistricting process on Tuesday at 10 a.m. People can watch at clerk.lacity.org/calendar.

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