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Los Angeles City Redistricting Underway

Jenny Chen |
March 30, 2011 | 6:41 p.m. PDT

Associate News Editor


LA City Hall (Creative Commons)
LA City Hall (Creative Commons)
The city of Los Angeles began its long journey towards redistricting on Wednesday after the City Council approved a motion that requires government officials to name nominees for its redistricting commission by Aug. 17, 2011. 

The LA City council unanimously voted 14-0. Councilman Richard Alarcon was absent. 

This is the first step in creating the commission that will submit its plans for the city’s redistricting by March 1, 2012. The City Council will then have four months to debate and approve this plan. 

The redistricting commission will have 21 members – three appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigoisa, two by the Council President, and one each by the Controller, City Attorney, and remaining council members. 

Based off the data released in California’s 2010 census, Los Angeles’ population increased 2.6 pecent from 3,694,724 to 3,729,621 since 2000. 

Yet more importantly, there has been a noticeable shift in population. Specifically, six districts have grown in population and nine have decreased, making Los Angeles’ redistricting one to watch. 

The purpose of redistricting every ten years is to keep states in accordance with the constitution, according to UC-San Diego Associate Professor of Political Science Thad Kousser. 

“It keeps all our voting rights equal,” Kousser said. 

To do this, the approved redistricting commission will need to redraw lines so that the populations in all 15 districts fall close to 252,841 (mean of the city’s population). 

Council President Eric Garcetti’s 13th district appears to have lost the most people, with over a 5 percent loss in population. Other districts whose populations have fallen include Councilman Tom Labonge’s 4th district and Councilman Herb Wesson’s 10th district. 

Meanwhile, districts with significant growth in population (5-10 percent) come from the two southern most districts and the three northern districts. 

Councilman Dennis Zine’s 3rd district added nearly 16,000 people over the last decade, while Councilwoman Jan Perry’s 9th district added about 23,000. 

Still, the commission will need to do more than just pay attention to the major population changes in Los Angeles. The City Charter also states that redrawn areas “shall keep neighborhoods and communities intact, utilize natural boundaries or street lines, and be geographically compact.” 

Once selected, the commission is mandated to meet regularly and hold public hearings until they present their plan next year. 

Reach reporter Jenny Chen here.
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