This week the Los Angeles City Council preliminarily approved new lines for city council districts. So we're almost done drawing new districts, right? Not so fast.
What is redistricting? Every ten years we count how many people live
in the country, the states, and local jurisdictions. Then we draw new
district lines for each of those areas. However, who the "we" is matters
greatly. If the "we" is sitting legislators drawing their own district
lines, then those boundaries may likely look quite different than if the
"we" is an independent commission. Legislators will quite rationally
draw lines that consolidate their power bases and help their changes at
re-election. Independent commission members will -- hopefully -- draw
lines that, among other things, best represent communities of interest.
In Los Angeles a redistricting commission
draws the boundary lines. However, the commission is not exactly
independent. Council members appoint those commission members.
There are 15 city council districts in the city of Los Angeles. The
council voted 12-2 to approve the new districts. Jan Perry and Bernard
Parks, neither of whom benefit from the new lines, opposed the new map.
Put another way, Perry and Parks' districts were all-but-gutted.
There will be another vote next week. Then the plan will need Mayor
Villaraigosa's approval. Assuming the lines are eventually approved the
next stop on the redistricting train will likely be lawsuit center. In
addition to Perry and Parks, who are unhappy with the district lines,
Koreatown community activists have threatened to sue over the new maps.
Finish reading this post on KCET.org.