This week Council President Nury Martinez asked me to serve on the Ad Hoc Committee on Redistricting to review and finalize district maps for both LAUSD and the City Council. I commend LAUSD Commission Chair Luis Sanchez, LA City Council Redistricting Commission Chair Fred Ali, and all the commissioners and staff who spent the better part of a year working with stakeholders to craft their maps and reports. As our charter makes clear, the final responsibilities lie with the City Council for district lines, and I take this responsibility very seriously.
While the LACCRC’s map helps solve some long standing issues regarding equity and communities of interest, my colleagues and I will work diligently to further this work over the coming weeks. If it were up to me, I’d keep the borders of the district I represent just the way they are. But this process isn’t about what I want and with the substantial growth in LA over the last decade, there are many components that must guide our decisions. This process is about creating equitable City Council districts in compliance with the Voting Rights Act and as we consider options, that will be at the forefront of my mind. I recognize that it is an extremely complicated puzzle because not only do the pieces have to fit together, but every time you move one piece of the puzzle it changes all of the other pieces. When you solve one equity issue you sometimes create others and every change has political implications.
I introduced three motions to help us towards this goal, all requesting further analysis around the City Council district lines in the West Valley. These include instructing the Chief Legislative Analyst to:
- Analyze making the most minimal changes to the current CD3 in response to community of interest statements from Canoga Park Neighborhood Council and others asking to keep the Third District as is
- Provide more information regarding potential adjustments to make the 405 a district boundary to recognize the natural barrier the freeway provides in the Valley which would allow reconfiguration of West and East Valley communities to be together rather than stretch districts across the 405
- Address a correction raised at the last Commission meeting to move the residents who live next to Pierce College (a dividing line with the LACCRC map) to be joined with the more southern CD3 residences in the Commission map.
Although LAUSD includes students from many cities, the responsibility for the school board member districts lies with the LA City Council under the City’s Charter. The same voting rights and equity issues must be assured in the final school board map. I introduced one motion today to unite the community of Woodland Hills entirely in the Valley school board seat in response to local concerns about division of this neighborhood into two school board seats.
Right now, we don’t know what the final Council and LAUSD districts will look like. Councilmembers introduced many motions today regarding redistricting that we’ll review intensely along with what the LACCRC has provided. I thank the Council President for the opportunity to serve.
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