With the dramatic build up to the end, the Independent Redistribution Board approves the final new LA County map – Daily News

A dramatic last-minute appeal from residents of northwest San Fernando Valley and the Hollywood Hills region failed to convince Los Angeles County’s first independent redistribution commission to change its final map, which will define voting rights in the county for the next decade Wednesday evening, December 15th.

The 14-person commission officially approved the card with one abstention.

“We all said it wasn’t perfect. But we have a fair card… that’s democracy at work, ”said Commissioner Jean Franklin.

Final, formal approval of the card by the commission comes after months of hearings from members of large and small communities – from Pomona to Whittier, from Redondo Beach to South LA

In hundreds of public hearings for weeks, residents from communities around the county pleaded with the panel not to “split” them, which shared their common influence and potentially diluted their power in the elections.

Their appeals have intensified in recent weeks as the commission has been drawn and pushed on issues of race, socio-economic identity, history, community wealth and voting rights.

In the end, the commission seemed determined to stand by its independence from the district overseers, anxious to distance itself from traditional demarcation lines, which in past decades have often been motivated by groups seeking to maintain their power. In addition, the commissioners seemed to emphasize the change in the population over the past 10 years compared to what works politically.

The final map will define voting rights for the next 10 years in the nation’s most populous county with 10 million people.

The decisions will affect the political performance of interest groups across the region – from the east of the working class. LA to coastal enclaves in the northern reaches of North County.

The biggest changes to the overall map – compared to the boundaries set a decade ago it replaces – are:

– With Latinos now making up almost half of the district’s population, the map creates two Latino-majority electoral districts – District 1, currently represented by Supervisor Hilda Solis, and District 4, currently represented by Supervisor Janice Hahn.

Supervisor Janice Hahn (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram / SCNG)

The map moves the county’s heavily Latin American communities in southeast LA – including Vernon, Maywood, Huntington Park, Bell, South Gate, and Bell Gardens – to Hahn’s District 4, out of Solis’ District 1.

– In District 2, the commissioners remained united and “all” of the densely populated African American communities in South LA. But now, Supervisor Holly Mitchell’s district will extend to the coast and include Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and El Segundo. including LAX.

– The extension of District 2 to the sea meant the splitting up of coastal cities, which for a long time had been combined into a single one under Hahn. For example, the beach towns of Redondo, Hermosa, and Manhattan will be separated from the areas in Hahn’s District 4, where Long Beach and the Palos Verdes Peninsula will live.

– In the San Fernando Valley, changes were in the works right up to the end. On Sunday, part of the northwestern San Fernando Valley – including Granada Hills and Chatsworth – was relocated from Kathryn Bargers District 5. In the meantime, parts of the Southeast Valley and the Cahuenga Pass, including the Hollywood Bowl, have been relocated to Bargers Zone.

LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

– West Hollywood, which at one point was being considered for District 5, remained in District 3.

-And the San Gabriel Valley stayed mostly in District 1, but with many of its northern foothills parishes split off into Bargers District 5.

“We made the best map we could reasonably have given the time constraints we had,” said commission co-chair Daniel Mayeda, agreeing with many of his fellow members on the panel.

Mayeda noted that the new county map contains fewer subdivisions of county wards than the current map.

However, the outcome was not without considerable tension, especially in the final days of the trial.

In the San Fernando Valley there were significant shifts well into Sunday night.

Spring tulips bloom at Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge on March 7, 2020. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

Churches in southeast Valley and North Hollywood are divided between District 5 by Supervisor Barger and District 3 by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. Valley Village and part of Sun Valley were moved from District 3 to the Bargers Zone and joined much of the northern end of the region with County, Burbank, Glendale and several towns at the foot of the hill country stretching from La Cañada Flintridge to San Gabriel Valley extend.

The shift sparked an outcry from residents and leaders in the northwest of the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood Hills who claimed the map was politically motivated.

The northwestern San Fernando Valley is traditionally the most conservative section of a generally left-leaning region. And many residents identify more with the physical and demographic landscape of the 5th district than with the 3rd district.

“Why change things when they work well? Is there a hidden agenda here? ”Said Wendy Gladstone of the Santa Susana Parks Association, one of a number of speakers who opposed the grouping of the Northwest Valley into District 3 in the south.

Critics say the move, coupled with the splitting up of several parishes in the southeastern valley, could make it harder for Barger to gain the area, as it will bring more left-wing populations into their district.

Hollywood Hills residents have also criticized the map for redrawing assets like the District 3 Hollywood Bowl.

The Hollywood Bowl (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

But the commissioners resisted suggestions from critics that Sunday’s last-minute movements, which received little public comment, were “corrupt”.

Commissioner David Holtzman, who introduced the border changes, said he did not work with politicians in introducing the revised map.

“I certainly haven’t checked in with anyone,” he said, implying that the commentators were all “speaking from the same script.”

Echoing the independence of the commission, Co-Chair Mayeda said: “I do not carry anyone else’s water, politically or otherwise,” he said.

He found that the change was late in the process on Sunday evening – when the tickets were closing – but had been under construction for days.

“Every step led to this point,” he said, adding that there is conflict on both sides over whether to keep the northwestern San Fernando Valley in Kuehl’s District 3 or District 5.

Thai city (file photo)

But not everyone agreed.

“I found it extremely frustrating and disheartening because we had spent so much time ensuring a fair and equitable process,” said Commissioner Doreena Wong, who ultimately abstained from the final vote.

“We’ve all taken so careful care to be transparent throughout the redistribution process … and to make sure we understand the implications of where the lines are drawn,” said Wong. “In the end, each of us has to be comfortable with the final card to give our support. I am struggling with these changes. I cannot support this process that was followed on Sunday evening. “

Commissioner Brian Stecher seemed to understand the concerns from the Northwest Valley – and even a last-minute attempt to avoid splitting Thai Town – but he was also aware that the clock is essentially running out for the commission.

“I am very compassionate,” he said. “But in order to meet our legal deadline, we have to accept the card we are faced with.”

As a matter of fact. The card was due to be adopted on Thursday, accompanied by a report that was thousands of pages long, justifying the legal rationale for the effort and documenting the first trial of its kind.

“Every time you are asked to move 10 million residents into five counties, it will be a challenge,” Mayeda said.

And for politics, the commission, supervisors and scientists there is the remaining question: Does the supervisory board have to be expanded? Are five districts enough for such a mammoth region?

That question – one that Commissioners and others have raised repeatedly in the last few days of this process – will likely be the first sentence in the next chapter in the county’s political history.

But for now, the board of directors will immediately start working under the new card as the district registrar sets the boundaries for the next wave of elections.

“The independent reallocation commission has just made history by being the first non-overseer to redraw the county boundaries,” Hahn said in a statement.

“This new map will bring about big changes. Millions of people have new bosses and bosses have new voters, ”said Hahn. “There will be challenges, but I have no doubt that my colleagues and I will work to ensure that the churches receive a warm handover and that no projects or problems fall through the cracks during this transition.”

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