After multiple public hearings and several special meetings, the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission adopted the first set of draft maps reflecting new boundaries for L.A. council districts (CDs).
The redrawn borders, approved at the September 30 meeting, were based on testimony from individuals, community groups and neighborhood councils. Also, publicly submitted maps, 2020 census data and other data sources were taken into consideration.
The redistricting procedure is authorized by the L.A. City Charter, which requires that CD boundaries be adjusted after the completion of each census and that each district be approximately equal in population size.
Next, the commission will hold a series of hearings via Zoom to get input from the public about the draft maps. Those meetings will be held on Wednesday, October 6, at 6 p.m.; Saturday, October 9, at 10 a.m.; Wednesday, October 13, at 6 p.m.; and Saturday, October 16, at 10 a.m.
“The Commission will then take this feedback for purposes of finalizing and submitting the map to the City Council on October 29,” said Rafael Gonzalez, director of community outreach and engagement.
To reach the point of agreeing on the draft maps, the commission debated for more than four hours. Guiding the discussion was each commissioner’s determination to emphasize the interests of their CD.
With the majority of African Americans residing in CDs 8, 9 and 10, Commissioners Charisse Bremond-Weaver, the Rev. Eddie Anderson and Valerie Lynne Shaw, the only Blacks on the board, strongly advocated for those areas. As a result, only minimal border changes for the three CDs are indicated in the draft maps.
However, echoing a recent Sentinel editorial authored by L.A. Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Shaw did ask the commission to restore assets in CD 8 that were removed during the 2011 redistricting process.
“In 2011, USC and Exposition Park were taken out of [CD] eight and right now, the only economic asset that CD 8 possesses is the [Baldwin Hills] Crenshaw Mall. Now if we really believe in equity and inclusion, I urge my fellow commissioners to move USC and Exposition Park back in CD 8. Before we issue our final map at the end of this process at the end of October, this issue needs to be addressed,” implored Shaw.
Commission Chair Fred Ali responded, “I think this is an issue, as I said before, that needs continuing discussion. My proposal is that we leave this as an issue on the table, allow the public to comment on this, as I am sure they will, and then we come back before making a final decision on those issues.”
Ali’s comments imply that those matters, along with any other concerns of individual commissioners, will be addressed before the final draft maps are forwarded to the City Council for review and adoption at the end of this month.
Regarding the upcoming hearings, the African American commissioners repeated their call to the Black community to participate in the redistricting process.
“When we look at the moral imagination of what the Black future looks like, we have to think about redistricting because we’re literally drawing the line, which will determine the kind of investment we can have in our community. So, for the Black community, especially in South L.A., it’s important for us to make sure our voices are heard,” explained Anderson.
Bremond-Weaver agreed and insisted, “Our community, our residents and young people have to be actively involved in this process. We all have to be accountable to the communities we care about and love. For me, that’s Council Districts 8, 9 and 10 to really lift up our people’s voices.”
Visit https://laccrc2021.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/City-of-LA-Draft-Map-K-2.5-with-numbers.pdf to view the final draft maps adopted by the redistricting commission.