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Supervisors decide not to create second Latino-majority district

September 27, 2011 |  6:53 pm

Carmen Celis shows her support for redistricting proposal T1 and S2 at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting held to consider of various supervisorial redistricting proposals. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times After hearing hours of emotional testimony from hundreds of speakers, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a redistricting map late Tuesday largely preserving the status quo, protecting incumbents and rejecting demands from Supervisor Gloria Molina and Latino activists that the board draw a second Latino district.

In the end, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who had been an ally of Molina, changed his vote from supporting a second Latino district  to supporting Supervisor Don Knabe's plan largely preserving the existing districts.

Ridley-Thomas had been a staunch advocate for redrawing political lines to add a second Latino-majority district, but said he didn't want to have the board deadlock and hand over the decision to a trio of other countywide elected officials — Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, Sheriff Lee Baca and Assessor John Noguez.

Molina and Ridley-Thomas hugged after the 4-1 vote, which was also supported by Zev Yaroslavsky and Michael D. Antonovich.

Ridley-Thomas said he thought the board's decision was inviting a lawsuit that would accuse the county of violating the federal Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voting rights. Ridley-Thomas and Molina have argued that the county, in keeping the status quo, is illegally diluting Latino voting power in violation of federal law.

Knabe said he felt the county could prevail in court. Knabe has argued it was unnecessary to dramatically redraw districts and that supervisors should represent people of all ethnicities.


Hundreds turn out for redistricting debate

Backers say adding Latino district helps Asians

Expert cites evidence of voter descrimination in L.A. County

Yaroslavsky allies turn out to oppose altering his 3rd Supervisorial District

-- Rong-Gong Lin II and Jason Song at the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration

Photo: Carmen Celis shows her support for redistricting proposals at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting held to consider various  redistricting proposals. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times