The citizen-led commission voted 15–6 this week to finalize the map, which redraws district boundary lines in Paul Krekorian’s District 2, Bob Blumenfield’s District 3, and Nithya Raman’s District 4.
The recommendations have been sent to the LA City Council, where councilmembers will have the chance to make changes to the map before the borders are finalized and go into effect for the next ten years starting Jan. 1, 2022.
Council President Nury Martinez, along with Raman and Krekorian, voiced opposition to the proposed map.
“As it stands now drastic changes were made to the map that have confused and alienated thousands and threatened to widen the divides between neighborhoods,” Martinez said in a statement on Oct. 22. “While some areas kept their assets and neighborhoods whole, poverty was concentrated in other communities that have already suffered from disinvestment and neglect for generations.”
Raman and Krekorian argued that the redesign would be unfair to their current constituents who voted them into office; both Raman and Krekorian have three years left in their respective terms.
“Last week the LA City Redistricting Commission moved forward with a proposed map that effectively ‘erases’ our district in its current form,” Raman wrote on Twitter Oct. 5. “This happened despite the fact that the minimal changes in population in L.A. show no basis whatsoever for such drastic shifts.”
An Oct. 6 statement from Krekorian pointed out that if he or Raman is transferred to a new district, “these neighborhoods will go seven years without a chance to vote for their own representative.”
“This is outrageous,” he said. “If this plan is not amended to ensure that the people of Los Angeles have a fair opportunity to elect Councilmembers of their own choosing, the public will demand to know whose political interests some of these commissioners are actually serving.”
Maria Sosyan, president of the NoHo Neighborhood Council—one of 99 neighborhood councils—said the council opposes the new redistricting map and that it “shows little to no consideration for our communities, and widens the divide between neighborhoods with common interests.”
“This map also carves up the significant Armenian American community of the San Fernando Valley within Council District 2, and disenfranchises other ethnic minority groups who’ve laid down roots and fought hard for proper representation,” Sosyan said. “Furthermore, the entire feedback process has been confusing and ill-managed. What is the point of asking the public for feedback if it’s not going to be heard, let alone considered?”
Other residents, however, voiced their support of the map changes by calling into commission meetings earlier this month.
Lionel Marez is a resident of Sun Valley, part of which is currently represented by Krekorian.
Marez said he supported the new map plan because “as a predominantly Latino and Spanish-speaking neighborhood, we deserve as much attention and political representation.”
“I’ve been publicly engaged with the city council for the past year and a half, and I feel like we’re largely ignored by the city of LA,” Marez said. “Many people forget that the valley is part of LA, and I do believe we need to be unified and strengthened … because many constituents don’t engage in public comment as I do.”
Jennifer DeVore of Hancock Park said she supported the redesign of her Greater Wilshire neighborhood, saying her neighborhood asked to be a part of district “J.”
“We are a community of shared interests; this map keeps our neighborhood council, the [Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council], whole. And [with] the proposed plan … shared significant community interests, including parks, historic neighborhoods, and historic sites. Orthodox Jewish institutions and schools with the neighborhoods to our west,” DeVore said at a Sept. 30 commission meeting.
The map didn’t define borders for neighboring districts 2 and 4, and declined to assign Raman and Krekorian to specific areas, instead leaving the decision to the city council.
The recommended map proposes a new district in the west San Fernando Valley that includes Winnetka and other nearby neighborhoods. Either Raman or Krekorian would represent this new district, while the other would be assigned to another district that covers other areas including Hollywood Hills, Griffith Park, and North Hollywood.
Blumenfield’s District 2 would be stretched from the southwest Valley to Valley Village; with the switch, Blumenfield would lose neighborhoods including Canoga Park and Reseda.
The city council will review and approve the new city borders before they take effect in January 2022.
A spokesperson for the Redistricting Commission, along with members of neighborhood councils in Districts 2 and 4, didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.