by Christine Peters
After many weeks of deliberating and holding public hearings, the volunteer Redistricting Commission has revealed its recommendation for the new boundaries for our city’s 15 Council Districts.
The Commission is tasked every ten years with redrawing the boundaries to balance population and demographics amongst the 15 Districts. In the last Census cycle, population in the Urban Core reduced significantly, while population growth in the Valley grew.
What does this mean for the Echo Park/Elysian Park area? Well, very little so far. At the center of the “Urban Core” area needing to take on population, Echo Park is currently divided between CD1 and CD13, currently helmed by Councilman’s Ed P. Reyes and Eric Garcetti, respectively. Both Councilman are termed out due to 12 year term limits, and leave an opportunity for hopefuls who live in the Districts, or ones who conveniently move into the districts, to vie for the council seat.
The recommended maps did not change the boundaries in our area, but did suggest moving CD13 further north into most of Glassell Park, while losing a portion of Silver Lake by the Silver Lake reservoir to CD4, currently represented by Tom LaBonge. LaBonge meanwhile could stand to lose a significant portion of his Hollywood outposts, Hancock Park, and the Wilshire District as the maps recommend moving CD4 further into the Valley. CD1 loses a gem in Debs Park, but gains a significant stronghold in Mt. Washington.
What does all of this mean? Well it means five weeks of public comment and more input before the maps are fine tuned and submitted to the City Council for final approval. Then, the real fun begins!! Incumbent Council members who are not termed out will jockey to keep what they consider “theirs.” Bill Rosendahl has already thrown down the gauntlet to keep LAX and Westchester amongst his neighborhoods, and Bernard Parks is adamant about keeping Baldwin Hills.
Termed out Council members may try and fight to preserve the District as they know it for various reasons: Some as simple as “nostalgia” or historic boundaries, and others to pave the path for their endorsed replacement. This, oddly, could mean pushing to change or expand the boundaries to accommodate that successor who may live out of the current district, or may need a different voter demographic to get elected. Others will just wait for the maps to be finalized and move into whichever district they think will “go their way.” It’s called politics for a reason!
So tune in for more “musical chairs”, as the elected push and pull to hold on to what they had, or what they perceive as a bonus to their newly redrawn boundaries.
Click here to download the map PDF of the proposed redistricting.
There are two meetings coming up regarding the redistricting recommendations:
Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm
Los Angeles City Hall
John Ferraro Council Chambers
200 N. Spring Street, Room 340, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Monday, February 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm
Occidental College, Thorne Hall
1600 Campus Road, Los Angeles, CA 90041