Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday took the first step toward recasting a controversial map of the city’s political boundaries, with council members drafting 38 proposals to recast the plan submitted by a citizens’ commission.

Some of the proposals are smaller, such as one to ensure that Little Ethiopia is located in a single municipal district. Others are far more pervasive, raising the possibility that large parts of the redistribution commission’s draft card could be discarded and replaced.

Council President Nury Martinez, a critic of the commission’s work, called on city officials to draw up an alternative redistribution map, a map that relies heavily on a proposal presented last month by a Latin American working group. According to her proposal, the working group’s map would serve as a template for several districts in the San Fernando Valley, including her own.

That card urges Martinez to reclaim important parts of his district, including the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area and the Balboa Lake neighborhood. It would also keep a large portion of the East Valley district intact represented by Councilor Paul Krekorian, who has faced 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, on the east side or in the central part of the city. A spokeswoman said the city’s political analysts would look into options for those areas.

The Redistricting Commission last month refused to take up the working group’s map, which would push Councilwoman Nithya Raman’s district deep into the Westside and stretch it from Silver Lake to the Pico-Robertson, Cheviot Hills and Palms neighborhoods.

The outbreak of mapping proposals sets the stage for a major debate among councilors on who should represent particular neighborhoods, business districts and economic assets. To raise the stakes even more, that debate is taking place on the eve of a city election campaign, with eight council seats up for grabs.

The Redistricting Commission presented its map to the council last week, recommending major changes to districts represented by Raman, Krekorian and Councilman Bob Blumenfield. The Commission’s proposal, if approved, would move either Raman or Krekorian to the new West Valley district – an idea that has angered supporters of both councilors.

Krekorian and Raman have repeatedly argued that the Commission’s proposal would deprive voters who voted for them in last year’s elections. Both council members grilled Commission President Fred Ali on Tuesday, saying the commission made crucial decisions in secret and confused voters by failing to number their districts.

“It has been an incredibly confusing, frustrating and sad process for people who felt deeply, deeply engaged in this city,” Raman said.

Ali challenged the characteristics of Raman and Krekorian, saying the commission’s decisions received public votes. And he defended the proposed map, saying it retains black and Latin political voices, places Koreatown in a single district and establishes 5.7 districts in the valley, among others.

“No card is perfect, and we do not claim that this is it,” he said at one point. “But it achieves important goals that are advocated [by] the public.”

By the end of Tuesday’s meeting, Raman had written nine proposals to change the commission’s map, many of which were intended to preserve parts of her Hollywood Hills district. Krekorian prepared several.

While some councilors worked to rebuild their districts, others took steps to claim financial assets.

Councilor Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents part of southern Los Angeles, drafted a proposal to move USC out of Councilor Curren Price’s district and into its own. Price, in turn, introduced a proposal to prevent Exposition Park, located next to USC, from being relocated to Harris-Dawson’s district.

The 38 redistribution proposals will be taken up on Friday by the council’s new ad hoc committee on redistribution, which will have seven members: Martinez, Raman, Krekorian, Blumenfield, Price and councilors Mitch O’Farrell and Kevin de León.

Of these seven members, four had appointed members of the redirecting Commissioners who voted against the Commission’s proposed card.

By Victor

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