Original Article – https://www.larchmontbuzz.com/featured-stories-larchmont-village/public-input-phase-begins-on-city-council-redistricting-draft-plan-k-2-5/
The next phase of the LA City Council Redistricting Commission’s work – seeking detailed public comments for further revisions to its chosen map (Draft Plan K 2.5) – began with the first of four new public input meetings on Wednesday night. Unlike the other Commission meetings over the last couple of weeks, these sessions don’t introduce any new maps, but instead focus on public comments and suggestions…of which there were more than 140 at this first meeting.
Because Draft Plan K 2.5 does several things that many stakeholder groups specifically requested from the mapping process – such as uniting Koreatown in a single city council district (CD 10), and uniting the Greater Wilshire area with other communities of interest in CD 5 – it won praise from multiple members of the public for those achievements. Other features of Draft Plan K 2.5 that were praised during the comments included:
- Uniting many Jewish communities in CD 5, as well as many others within a single district in the San Fernando Valley
- Keeping much of the rest of the current CD 10 intact within its current borders
- Uniting most of Downtown in one city council district (CD 14)
- Uniting the Westside Neighborhood Council area within a single district
- Keeping Thai Town and Historic Filipinotown together in a single district
- Keeping most of Hollywood united in a single district (CD 13)
The speakers on each of these issues generally just thanked the commission for its work so far, and urged the commissioners to move ahead with these areas as currently drawn.
Specific Local Requests
But not everyone was happy with everything on the map, and while some speakers were largely satisfied with Draft Plan K 2.5, they also spoke about specific issues they would like to see rectified as the current map is adjusted.
In our general readership area, these more localized issues included:
- Making sure that the eastern boundary of CD 5 in the Greater Wilshire area follows the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council boundary at the alley between Manhattan Place and Western Ave., instead of the middle of Manhattan Place, as it now seems to do in the Draft Plan K 2.5 map.
- Undoing a proposed split of the Melrose district, which moves the portion of the Mid City West Neighborhood Council area north of Melrose and south of the West Hollywood border from CD 5, where the rest of the MCWNC lies, into CD 13. (This change was made during the last map-drawing meeting to compensate for an adjustment that returned a portion of the Beverlywood neighborhood, at the southern part of CD 5, to that district. As a result of that move, a roughly equal number of people had to be trimmed elsewhere in the area…and the line was drawn at Melrose Ave.) At least half a dozen people spoke out to protest this division, which would separate residents in that area from their longtime city council district, from the rest of their Neighborhood Council area, and from the rest of the Melrose community, which has been working hard lately to tackle a recent crime spree in the neighborhood.
- Keeping all three “Carthay” neighborhoods (Carthay Circle, Carthay Square, and South Carthay) united within a single council district. Residents of those areas noted that the three neighborhoods have worked hard together on many local issues, including a recent application for admission to the National Register of Historic Places, and would find it much more difficult to pursue common goals if split between two districts as currently proposed.
Other Specific Requests
Likewise, other neighborhoods around the city had other very specific issues they would like to see addressed, and which they believe can be done within the context of Draft Plan K 2.5. Multiple speakers spotlighted several of these requests at Wednesday’s meeting, including (in no particular order):
- Reuniting all of Highland Park in CD 14, instead of splitting it between two districts.
- Keeping Angelino Heights in the same district with Echo Park (both the neighborhood and the park itself)
- Keeping Griffith Park and all of the Los Feliz neighborhood united in a single council district.
- Uniting Boyle Heights, El Sereno and Lincoln Heights in the same council district.
- Uniting all of Chinatown in CD 14, instead of splitting it between two districts.
- Keeping Ladera Heights in CD 11, as it is now, instead of moving it to CD 8, as Draft Plan K 2.5 proposes
- Adjusting the eastern border of the Bel Air-Beverly Crest area, to more closely conform to LAPD and LAFD division boundaries in those neighborhoods.
- Keeping Shadow Hills together with other equestrian communities in CD 7.
- Keeping the Sepulveda Basin area united in the same district as Encino.
- Splitting the Sun Valley Neighborhood Council area between no more than two council districts, instead of the four currently proposed.
But there were at two issues that generated much more discussion, and even greater disagreements at Wednesday’s meeting.
The first of these was how to divide major economic engines in three south LA districts (CDs 8, 9 and 10). In the last round of city council redistricting, in 2011-2012, downtown was moved from CD 9, the city’s poorest district overall, to CD 14…while the USC and Exposition Park area were moved from CD 8 (another very low income district) to CD 9. And the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall area was split between CDs 10 and 8, instead of being located fully within CD 10 as it had been prior to the 2010 census.
Ten years later, the matter is still far from settled. Throughout this year’s redistricting cycle, the debate has continued – with no resolution so far – with many stakeholders arguing whether these major wealth generators (especially the USC/Exposition Park area) should remain in their current districts, or be returned to their previous districts. So far, Draft Plan K 2.5 leaves them all where they’ve been for the last 10 years, but CD 8 stakeholders, in particular, have been lobbying hard to regain USC, the Exposition Park museums (including the under-construction Lucas Museum), and the new soccer stadium. And the debate continued on Wednesday with about two dozen stakeholders weighing in — about half in favor of returning these assets to their previous districts, and about half requesting that they be left as is this time around.
But an even bigger topic of discussion, and perhaps the major complaint of the night, was how to handle the two districts – currently labeled “2-or-4” and “4-or-2” on the Draft Plan K 2.5 map. These are the districts that have been most significantly reshaped in this plan, and both of which would largely separate their current representatives, Nithya Raman and Paul Krekorian, from the constituents who elected them.
The angriest of these complaints were focused on the envisioned District 2-or-4, or what has become of the current CD 4 in Draft Plan K 2.5. This district become the city’s most sprawling and oddly shaped after the 2011-2012 redistricting, with boundaries stretching from Los Feliz and Silverlake south to Miracle Mile and Greater Wilshire, and north and west to Sherman Oaks…a situation that was never popular with many of the district’s communities. This year’s version of the district is vastly different (which is at least partially due to the reshaping of districts around it, for various reasons), and it would shift about 70% of the district away from both its current territory and Raman’s core voter base of young, progressive renters, which many stakeholders say is even worse than the current configuration.
And this major shift brought many of Raman’s now-angry supporters to the meeting, more than a dozen of whom spoke during public comments to complain that they and other large swaths of renters and working class voters would be unfairly disenfranchised by Draft Plan K 2.5, which they said overwhelmingly favors older, wealthier, whiter, and otherwise more privileged groups.
(Some of the more colorful of these comments, which included accusations of “gerrymandering,” racism and more, were later posted in a Twitter thread by the Unrig LA progressive political organizing group. This organization and other progressive political groups are now gearing up for the next public meeting and inviting supporters to an “Unrig the Lines Pre-Game” strategy event, hosted by Ground Game LA, which will take place just before the big redistricting meeting on Saturday morning.)
The discussions are from from over, however. And as noted above, the next in the series of public input meetings on Draft Plan K 2.5 will be held tomorrow – Saturday, October 9, at 10 a.m. – with two more public input meetings to follow. After that, there will be two more Redistricting Commission meetings, at which the Commission will make final map revisions and approve a recommended map to send along to the City Council (which will then begin its own discussions and revisions).
The remaining Redistricting Commission meetings are:
Public Input Meetings
10-09-21, Saturday, 2021, 10 a.m.
10-13-21, Wednesday, 2021, 6 p.m.
10-16-21, Saturday, 2021, 10 a.m.
10-21-21, Thursday, 2021, 6 p.m.
10-28-21, Thursday, 2021, 6 p.m.
All of these meetings will be held via Zoom, with the same link used for each meeting.
Video of the October 6 meeting is available here.