Fire supports 2022 plan to enlarge city council

Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer announced on Monday that he would speed up his schedule for doubling the city council and said he would vote on a polling measure next year instead of 2024.

Fire, who is running for mayor, said he had decided to pursue his proposal more aggressively after the ongoing debate over the city’s efforts to redraw the borders for the council’s 15 wards.

A 21-member citizens’ commission from political mandates presented their redistribution plan to the city council on Friday. As part of its report, the panel called for an increase in the number of boroughs and said that the city’s redistribution process should be taken out of the hands of the city council and truly independent in the years to come.

Fire said efforts to amend the city charter and increase the size of the council would require approximately 320,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November 2022 vote. These signatures would have to be submitted in mid-June, he said.

“It will take an army of volunteers across Los Angeles to change the status quo,” he said. “But that’s the key issue – the status quo doesn’t work for us in the city of Los Angeles.”

Feuer made his announcement the day before the council took up the Commission’s redistribution plan, which was supported by neighborhood groups in some parts of the city and harshly criticized in others.

Proponents of the proposed map say it would achieve several important goals, such as ensuring the city has 5.7 parishes entirely in the San Fernando Valley, reflecting the population of that region; Placing Koreatown in a single parish; and maintaining black and Latino representation in key parts of the city.

Enemies of the map proposed by the commission say it caused an uproar in the Valley and sought significant changes in the boroughs represented by Bob Blumenfield, Paul Krekorian and Nithya Raman. In several neighborhoods, voters who voted for these politicians found themselves with a new councilor.

Feuer announced in September that it would seek a vote in 2024 to double the number of council districts while cutting council members’ salaries in half. At the time, he argued that Angelenos would be better served with a larger number of council members.

On Monday, fire in front of the town hall said he would instead start collecting signatures in the next few months.

If such a measure is passed next year, the city would initiate a new reallocation process to redraw the boundaries of the larger group of parishes. The vote would ensure that this process is completely independent, without the involvement of council or political representatives, Feuer said.

The council’s district boundaries “should not be based on politicians’ self-interest,” he said. “That’s a recipe for backroom deals.”

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