The Los Angeles Redistricting Commission moved forward on Sept. 30 with a drafted map that would almost completely reshape several of the 15 districts in the city.
Cities redesign their districts every 10 years based on the latest U.S. Census Bureau data. The commission board is made up of individuals appointed by city council members. In Los Angeles, each of the 15 districts must have roughly 260,000 people, meaning that densely populated areas such as the San Fernando Valley and Koreatown may get shifted from district to district.
The commission board received the Census data much later than usual in August due to complications from the pandemic. The commission must submit the map to the city council by Oct. 28, and the new district map will go into effect by Jan. 1, 2022.
Under the tentatively approved K2 map, neighborhoods currently in Councilwoman Nithya Raman’s District 4 and Councilman Paul Krekorian’s District 2 would be shifted to other districts. The district that currently covers Hollywood Hills, Sherman Oaks, and Central Los Angeles would drop Central Los Angeles and add Encino and Studio City under the K2 map, while Krekorian’s current district would add Winnetka, Canoga Park, and Lake Balboa to the West Valley.
Earlier this week, Commission Chair Fred Ali said that the proposed new Hollywood Hills district would still be designated as part of Raman’s District 4, and the West Valley District would remain part of Krekorian’s District 2. Later in the week, however, Ali said the decision should be left up to the council.
The two councilmembers opposed the K2 map, arguing 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.
Two commission members, appointed by Raman and Krekorian, advocated during the meeting for alternate maps that would keep their neighborhoods together and put all of Koreatown into District 4. However, the committee ultimately voted 14–6 against an alternate map.
Other residents called in support of the K2 draft map, arguing that it serves the interests of their respective communities.
Sun Valley resident Lionel Marez said he supported plan K2 because “I believe 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 plan K2’s redesign of her Greater Wilshire neighborhood, saying her neighborhood asked to be a part of district “J” on the K2 plan.
“We are a community of shared interests; this map keeps our neighborhood council, the [Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council], whole. And the proposed plan K, District J 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 the commission meeting.
The commission’s selected plan will now be subject to several public hearings on Oct. 13 and Oct. 16, in which more residents will comment on the drafted maps.
Neither Krekorian nor the LA Redistricting Commission responded to requests for comment by press time.