Some L.A. residents pledge to fight new council district plan
Hours after the public was given its first peek at draft maps showing new boundary lines for Los Angeles City Council districts, several dozen people showed up Wednesday at a tense Redistricting Commission meeting in Van Nuys to weigh in on the proposed changes.
Most of the crowd had traveled from Koreatown, where activists are angry that the commission's map calls for the neighborhood to be split between the districts of council members Herb Wesson and Eric Garcetti.
They want Koreatown to be united under a single district -- a desire made clear by more than 300 people from Koreatown at redistricting meetings, said Grace Yoo of the Los Angeles Korean American Assn.
“Obviously our voice has not been heard," Yoo said.
The commission was expected to vote Wednesday on the maps recasting the city's 15 council districts, which will then be circulated for five weeks before a final version is sent to the City Council.
News of the proposed changes to the council districts rippled across the city Wednesday as some residents considered the possibility of being represented by a council member they didn't elect if the plan is adopted.
Residents in Sunland-Tujunga are upset about a proposed change that would move the community out of Councilman Paul Krekorian's district and into Councilman Richard Alarcon’s district.
“People are going to flip out,” said Sunland-Tujunga activist Joe Barrett.
He said Alarcon is unpopular with many in the area because of his plan to create a truck driving academy atop a portion of a closed landfill.
“We’ve been pretty outspoken that that’s the last thing we wanted," Barrett said. "We will fight this.”
In downtown, developer Tom Gilmore said he was shocked that the redistricting panel proposed shifting Councilwoman Jan Perry’s district south, causing her to lose much of the city's central core.
“It’s so counter-intuitive,” said Gilmore, who praised Perry for her role in bringing redevelopment to the area and who said "downtown unity" is key to future growth. “You finally have a downtown that after 30 years is moving ahead. I really have to question why all this incredible gerrymandering is going on to fix something that isn’t broken."
Gilmore and other downtown leaders will appear with Perry at a rally Thursday to protest the changes, which would give Eastside Councilman Jose Huizar large parts of downtown.
In parts of the San Fernando Valley, some cheered the proposed maps. Although the proposal does not give the San Fernando Valley a sixth council district that is entirely within the Valley, as leaders there had hoped, it does make Councilman Tom LaBonge’s 4th District far more Valley-focused.
Stuart Waldman, executive director of the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn., said that was enough.
“Having an elected official who lives in the Valley and has to live with our issues is important to us, rather than a representative who lives outside of the valley and just pops in once in a while," he said.
Waldman did note the odd shape of the proposed district, which reaches from east of the 101 Freeway into western parts of the Valley, stretching "from Silver Lake to Lake Balboa." Still, he said, “It’s going to be a beautiful new 4th District,” he said
-- Kate Linthicum and David Zahniser at City Hall
Map: Proposed Los Angeles City Council districts
Credit: Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission