City Council members propose dozens of changes to LA redistribution map
Los Angeles City Council took the first step on Tuesday towards redesigning a controversial card political limits of the city, the councilors drafting 38 proposals for recasting of the plan submitted by a citizens’ commission.
Some of the proposals are minor, such as the one to have Little Ethiopia be placed in a single municipal district. Others are much larger, raising the possibility that important pieces of the Cutting Commission card project could be discarded and replaced.
Council President Nury Martinez, critic of the commission’s work, called on city officials to prepare an alternative redistribution map, which builds heavily on a proposal submitted last month by a Latin American task force . According to his proposal, the labor map would serve as a model for several districts in the San Fernando Valley, including his own.
The Labor Map calls on Martinez to reclaim key parts of his district, including the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area and the Lake Balboa District. It would also keep much of the East Valley District represented by City Councilor Paul Krekorian intact, who was faced with the possibility of representing an area that is 100% new to him.
Martinez’s proposal does not explain what would happen to neighborhoods immediately south of the valley, the Eastside, or the central part of town. A spokeswoman said the city’s political analysts would examine options for these areas.
The Decoupage Commission last month refused to take back the job map, which would push Councilor Nithya Raman’s district deep into the Westside, extending it from Silver Lake to the neighborhoods of Pico-Robertson, Cheviot Hills and Palms.
The explosion of cartographic proposals opens the way to a major debate between the members of the council to know who will represent districts, business districts and particular economic assets. Raising the stakes even higher, this debate is taking place on the eve of a municipal election campaign, with eight council seats up for grabs.
The Decoupage Commission submitted its map to council last week, recommending major changes to the districts represented by Raman, Krekorian and City Councilor Bob Blumenfield. The commission’s proposal, if approved, would move Raman or Krekorian to the new West Valley district – an idea that has infuriated supporters of both council members.
Krekorian and Raman have repeatedly argued that the commission’s proposal would deny the right to vote to voters who voted for them in last year’s election. The two council members questioned commission chairman Fred Ali on Tuesday, saying the commission had made crucial decisions in secret and confused voters by failing to number their constituencies.
“It was an incredibly confusing, frustrating and saddening process for people who felt deeply, deeply engaged in this city,” said Raman.
Ali took issue with the characterizations of Raman and Krekorian, saying the commission’s decisions received votes from the public. And he defended the proposed map, saying it preserves the political voices of blacks and Latinos, places Koreatown in a single district and establishes 5.7 districts in the valley, among others.
“No card is perfect, and we don’t pretend this one is,” he said at one point. “But it accomplishes important goals advocated [by] the public. “
By the end of Tuesday’s meeting, Raman had drafted nine proposals to change the commission’s map, many of which were aimed at preserving parts of his Hollywood Hills neighborhood. Krekorian wrote several more.
While some council members worked to rebuild their neighborhoods, others took steps to claim economic assets.
Councilor Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents part of South Los Angeles, wrote a proposal to move USC Councilor Curren Price’s District and his own. Price, in turn, brought forward a motion to prevent Exposition Park, which sits next to USC, from being moved to the Harris-Dawson district.
The 38 redistribution proposals will be considered on Friday by the council’s new ad hoc redistribution committee, which will include seven members: Martinez, Raman, Krekorian, Blumenfield, Price and councilors Mitch O’Farrell and Kevin de León.
Of those seven members, four had people named on the constituency commissioners who voted against the map proposed by the commission.