LA City Council committee plans to reform redistricting process

Monday’s committee meeting at city hall was the last of four before the council’s summer recess. Previous meetings took place in Exposition Park, Van Nuys and Cheviot Hills.

People who have spoken are concerned about how district maps are drawn, whether they include or exclude certain neighborhoods or divide neighborhoods that are predominantly of a certain racial or socioeconomic group. Beyond the maps themselves being in question is the trust of those elected to help create them.

“Their own experience with local government has really demonstrated a lack of trust,” said Alejandra Ponce de Leon, who works for the racial equity nonprofit Catalyst California and spoke before the committee. “There’s fear of corruption.”

October’s leaked audio recordings riddled with current and former city council members using racial slurs is a clear example of how the redistricting process can pin cultures against each other.

Monday’s meeting started at 10 a.m. downtown, and was available in English with Spanish translation.

In attendance were predominantly people representing nonprofits, adding context to how the city serves various communities, and how it doesn’t.

“We know that we’re not represented by the current city council,” said Candice Cho, of AAPI Equity Alliance. “The current city council at 15 members means we’re one of a quarter of a million people in each council district.”

She and others also advocated for an independent redistricting commission, reallocating power from the city council members.

The committee plans to announce several other opportunities for public comment across Los Angeles in the near future. It plans to consider and vote on final recommendations in mid-September.

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