Los Angeles County is one step closer to the final map of its intended political boundaries after the county redistribution commission on Thursday, October 28, approved the last four proposed projects in the form of a draft to redraw supervisory districts based on the latest census data.
At stake with the new district map are the areas that the five current and future district leaders will represent over the next 10 years, the right to vote in the areas and resources they traditionally have. Communities, including cities and key areas of interest, may remain intact or be split between the five counties of the county, depending on how boundaries change.
Regardless of what, each constituency must be reallocated to ensure that there are about 2 million people in each, which is a daunting task for the Civil Constituency Redistribution Commission, which has not done so before – in this more populous constituency than in some states.
Overall, the differing views have raised concerns about the preservation of some areas, as well as ensuring that others are not geographically or racially isolated or grouped with communities with which they have nothing to do.
Selected from several submissions, the four finalist cards are sourced from three sources: MALDEF, The People’s Bloc, and Brian Stecher, a member of the County Reallocation Commission, which will open by December 15th. will have to focus on the final map.
In some cases, the cards approved by the commission on Thursday divide the San Fernando Valley, parts of which will be represented by different leaders. The rest do not divide.
Others suggest dividing the San Gabriel Valley into three. The other holds it in half.
Long Beach can be divided according to proposals, and Pomona can join Long Beach in one configuration.
According to the MALDEF map, Hispanics, who make up 38.82% of the district’s voters in the 2020 census, receive the majority of votes in two districts: District 1, currently represented by Hilda Solis, and District 3, currently represented by Sheila Cuell.
Maldef says his map keeps the communities of the eastern San Gabriel Valley “one” in Region 1, while allowing Asian communities of interest in the western San Gabriel Valley and Hacienda Heights to Diamond Bar to unite in Region 5. Meanwhile, it retains the cities of the Gateway such as Whittier, Pico Rivera and Montebello – along the I-605 “merged”.
District 1 will also cover a section of the northwest of Long Beach, dividing the city between it and District 4. District 4 will run along the coast through Palos Verdes, El Segundo and Santa Monica and into the San Fernando Valley west of 405- th highway. East of Route 405 in the San Fernando Valley will be Region 3, with Region 5 comprising parts of Glendale and Burbank.
MALDEF said its plan “brings Hispanics together in Los Angeles County in a compact and intelligent manner, while respecting current black opportunities and providing the Asian community with an area of strong influence (or coalition).”
The proposed maps can be seen at https://redistricting-lacounty.hub.arcgis.com/.
The People’s Bloc, a coalition of groups working towards a fair redistribution of counties in Los Angeles County and the city of Los Angeles, has proposed dividing the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys into three. The proposed map has received praise from East Los Angeles advocates, who are urging commissioners to unite the Eastside communities.
Diego Rodriguez, chief operating officer of Alma Community Services, said that “the proposed map provides fair representation for the four marginalized communities,” adding that the area shares common historical ties and resources. This story has borne the brunt of poverty, gentrification and racial injustice, which in the wake of the pandemic, communities in the area want to get out of this process united.
But as they put together the pieces of the puzzle, experts point out that there are winners and losers in this process.
Henry Fung, himself a cartographer, feared a split in the community.
“I believe we shouldn’t split San Gabriel into more than two parts,” he told the commissioners, adding that the result leads to bad combinations. According to him, under the People’s Bloc plan, Pomona is merging with Long Beach, and they have relatively little in common. Really. Proposed Area 4 will run south of Pomona along the San Bernardino and Orange County border, through Diamond Bar and Norwalk on the way to Long Beach.
Alan Clayton, also a mapmaker and area expert, presented his own map among the 30 or so that have been cut. He liked the MALDEF card, he added that it was similar to his.
“If it is adopted, I don’t mind,” he said. Clayton said he believes the MALDEF card finds the best balance so that Hispanics, Asians and African Americans have the best chance of fair political representation over the next decade.
He was still analyzing Stecher’s map, but was concerned that the other maps selected did not represent a fair enough balance based on the census data.
According to Gaila Kretch Hartsow, the commission’s executive director, Stecher was among other commissioners who, along with the general public, had equal access to the commission’s mapping software.
The maps were not released in the commission’s online center until Monday due to concerns that they could provoke public opinion that the process is “over,” Hartsow said.
The officials also wanted to encourage new cartography ideas among the public. “We really wanted fresh ideas and creativity,” Hartsow said. “We wanted to make sure the public had the freedom to think creatively and not be influenced or biased by what the commissioners posted.”
All cards were reviewed, she said.
This is by no means the end of the process. Now the maps themselves will be presented to the public during a series of hearings that will finalize the maps and conclude with the final selection of the commission by December 15th.
In the meantime, district redistribution processes are taking place at other levels of government, from the local level to the state level, including school districts.
The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday, November 2, intends to consider proposals from its ward redistribution committee to change the city’s political boundaries, with several members expected to make significant amendments to the map. This process was already turbulent.
The difference at the district level is that for the first time this process is outside the control of the Supervisory Board. Observers hope this distracts the process from politicians who want to maintain their power by redrawing their own lines.
Really. It was Maldef who was at the forefront of a landmark case that began to turn the tide in Los Angeles in favor of a fairer redraw.
In 1990, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by U.S. District Judge David W. Kenyon that the County Review Board discriminated against Hispanics by drawing district lines in 1981 in East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley.
Some are skeptical that this process can indeed be apolitical.
However, in any event, the re-drawing of lots must be subject to the federal Voting Rights Act.
This means that the five counties of the county must be:
“Be drawn in such a way as to minimize the division of cities, neighborhoods or communities of interest”;
– not to be “deceived”, that is, to be attracted in favor of any political faction, party or official; and
– Includes about 2 million people.
Indeed, the task is not easy.