By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
There is some reason to think that these redistricting commissions would create at least modestly more compact and coherent districts than those the council has been known to create on its own (council president John Ferraro's North HollywoodtoHancock Park district is a notable lulu), and that the council might be too embarrassed to dismiss their work altogether. Okay, we know the council's capacity for embarrassment falls somewhere between the underdeveloped and the nonexistent, but a commission couldn't hurt. We're for 2.
Charter Amendment 3 -- Yes
Charter Amendment 4 -- Yes
These measures increase the size of the City Council from its current 15 members to 21, if Amendment 3 passes, or 25, if Amendment 4 passes. If both amendments pass, the one with more votes takes effect. But neither takes effect unless Measure 1, adopting the new charter, is passed as well.
When the current charter was adopted in 1924, Los Angeles was a city of 750,000 people, and each of its 15 council members represented just 50,000 people. Today, Los Angeles has upward of 3,600,000 residents, meaning each of its 15 council members represents at least 240,000 people. A council district in millennial L.A. is about twice the size of Glendale, and the ability of the council members to address the needs of so many constituents is accor-dingly diminished. No other large American city has council districts remotely this large: In Houston, districts contain roughly 170,000 residents, and no other major city has districts of more than 150,000.
Decreasing the size of districts creates the possibility of a more diverse City Council and the certainty of a more democratic one. The larger the district, the more expensive the campaigns waged to represent it. Candidates with less money of their own, who are less beholden to special interests, stand a greater chance of victory in smaller districts. Correspondingly, smaller districts also increase the impact that volunteer precinct walkers can have on the outcome of a race. A larger council may not only better reflect the city's diversity, then, but it may also diminish the political power of money and enhance the political power of people. For this reason, we prefer a council of 25 to a council of 21 -- but since there's no way to gauge which amendment has a better chance of passage, we're recommending a Yes vote on both.
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