L.A. Redistricting Commission's Final Map: Still a Mess of Gerrymandered Land Grabs
redistricting2011.lacity.orgCity Council President Herb Wesson's turkey district, now with extra stuffing.
At an exasperating L.A. Redistricting Commission meeting last Wednesday night that lasted into the wee hours, commissioners tried to address a whopping 75 community complaints, re: their hilariously gerrymandered first try at new voting districts for Los Angeles.
The "proposed list of adjustments" on which they were voting ran the gamut from vague principles like "Respect and not violate the Voting Rights Act" to scrambly GPS stunts like ...
... "Re-unite the headquarters of the Armenian Diocese Apostolic Church, located on Glenoaks Blvd. and Cohasset, along with the Cabrini housing tracts located just to the north of the Diocese back into CD 2."
Making a sane discussion even more impossible, the commission "didn't have the computers set up to do voting," says L.A. Weekly reporter Hillel Aron, who sat through (almost) the entire meeting. And none of the tweaks was projected overhead, so after a while, "most of the commissioners just had no idea what was going on," says Aron.
The good news: A few small improvements were made. The most obvious being that L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl got Westchester back. (It had previously been severed from the Westside and connected to neighboring City Council District 8 by a sidewalk-sized thread.)
But some of the most obvious political maneuvers/land grabs on the commission's first draft have only been amplified to greater cartoonishness.
Koreatown, whose constituents have been most angry and vocal about being split between two districts, got exactly the opposite of what they were asking for: Instead of being swallowed whole by Councilman Eric Garcetti's 13th district, as activists were hoping, they were pushed even farther into City Council President Herb Wesson's southern territory. (Aka CD 10; aka the fat turkey.)
In fact, despite the heap of complaints he was up against, Wesson got everything he wanted and more this time around.
Well, we presume it's what he wanted. As the Los Angeles Times pointed out in a recent editorial, the true political motives behind this redistricting process are thinly veiled by a seemingly neutral commission. But each commissioner has been appointed by a City Council member, plus a few from other city offices -- so watching them bicker over voting boundaries is basically a Hollywood reenactment of our elected officials strategically plotting their own L.A. sub-kingdoms.
Like Koreatown, Councilman Bernard Parks, whose CD 8 sits right below City Council President Wesson's turkey, gets even more screwed by prez than he was in the first round. Baldwin Hills, one of Parks' most prized hoods, has now been completely enveloped by the turkey's plumage.
And Councilwoman Jan Perry's new CD 9 is a portrait of everything she didn't want: Councilman Jose Huizar takes the entirety of her cherished downtown, leaving only a little gerrymandered tumor on her forehead -- the L.A. Live district, including Staples Center -- as a consolation prize.
Oh, and a second tumor -- the USC campus -- off her left ear. Not exactly what she was looking for, reports blogdowntown:
Although this addition seems prestigious and beneficial, Perry said USC is not an asset -- it's a "non-profit private institution" with a "transient" (student) population.
Here are PDFs of all the districts within the "Final Map Recommendation." And an overview:
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