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Proposed L.A. council district changes draw new warning

March 1, 2012 |  6:35 pm

Final L.A. redistricting commission report

Four members of Los Angeles city's redistricting commission are warning that new proposed boundaries for City Council districts would deprive Asian Americans of “any reasonable possibility” of winning a council seat.

On Wednesday, the commission voted 12 to 5 to forward the new boundaries for the 15 council districts to the City Council. But as part of that vote, four of the five dissenters signed a so-called minority report saying race was improperly used as the “predominant” factor for drawing certain council districts -– a situation that would leave the proposal vulnerable to a legal challenge.

Current council districts and the latest proposed boundary changes can be compared using a Times interactive graphic.

Both the proposed map and opposing reports will be sent to the council’s Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, which will meet at 8:30 a.m. Friday. The committee will hold three hearings next week before a final vote March 16.

Commission President Arturo Vargas said in an email that he “strongly” disagreed with the argument that the map would be vulnerable to a legal challenge. He said the city’s lawyers have taken the same view.

Koreatown civic groups tried without success to convince the commission to place the area covered by the Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council into a district represented by Councilman Eric Garcetti. They argued that such a move would improve the chances that an Asian American candidate could be elected. 

The proposed map also has been the subject of a major dispute among the council’s three African American representatives -- Herb Wesson, Jan Perry and Bernard C. Parks. The plan, which would go into effect on July 1, removes affluent portions of Parks’ district and turns them over to Wesson. The proposal also takes much of downtown out of Perry’s district and puts it in the district represented by Councilman Jose Huizar.


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-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Map: Draft of proposed new Los Angeles City Council districts. Credit: Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission