Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Focus Narrowing as LA City Council Redistricting Commission Moves Toward Map Recommendation

Detail of City Council Redistricting Draft Plan K Corrected, which was the focus of much of yesterday’s city council redistricting mapping meeting.  (The Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council area is mostly included in District J (likely CD 5) here, while the current CD 4 would likely become the new District O, as mapped here.  Some of the other likely letter/number correlations would be: G=13, L=1, B=14, H=10, C=9, and F=8.


In last night’s installment of As the Council Districts Turn, a.k.a. the rapidly intensifying Los Angeles City Council redistricting process, Redistricting Commission Chair Fred Ali led the commission through a nearly 6 1/2-hour meeting, providing a highly detailed look at the city’s newest draft mapping scheme, Draft Plan K Corrected, which Redistricting Commission Executive Director Frank Cardenas crafted over the last week based on the commission’s statutory requirements, adopted principles, a couple of previously presented maps, and public and commission input on the maps discussed at the last few meetings.


Details of Draft Plan K Corrected


The full Draft Plan K Corrected map, which was discussed in great detail during last night’s nearly 6 1/2 hour redistricting meeting.

The first large chunk of last night’s meeting (which was actually the third session of a single meeting convened last Monday, September 20) was a presentation in which Cardenas explained how he crafted each section of the new Plan.  According to Cardenas, he began with districts in the San Fernando Valley, using some specific principles:  1.  that Mulholland Drive provides a good natural dividing line between council districts in the Valley and those on the southern side of the Hollywood Hills, 2. that Neighborhood Council boundaries, which already exist and are time-tested, provide good building blocks for new city council districts, 3. that continguous Neighborhood Council areas, especially those such as Warner Center, Tarzana, Encino, and Sherman Oaks, be kept together as much as possible, and 3. that it would be good to create five council districts wholly located in the San Fernando Valley, and one that both physically and symbolically bridges the Valley and other side of the hills.  So he drew Districts A, N, I, D, M, and O, respectively, as shown here…with the new District O (likely the new CD 4) bridging not only the Valley and non-Valley areas, but uniting many areas on both sides of the hill that are particularly focused on and important to the entertainment industry.

After drawing the Valley districts, Cardenas said he moved to the Eastern region of the city, and realized that because several districts in that area are currently underpopulated, according to new census data, the only way for each district to pick up the population it needs is to rotate the current districts 13, 1 and 4 northwest (counterclockwise) a bit from their current orientations, resulting in the new districts G, L, and B on the map.

Moving to the southern part of the city, Cardenas said he tried to honor previous requests from District 15 areas to remain in their current district (E on the new map), as well as requests from Districts 8, 9, and 10 (F, C, and H on this map) to remain largely as they have been, with the addition of a newly united Koreatown to CD 10.  Cardenas said that addition became possible when the community-backed Koreatown Redistricting Taskforce requested a northern boundary for the Koreatown area at Beverly instead of Melrose, where it had been previously defined. If the district stretched up to Melrose, he said, it would have been too populous to add to CD 10, and would have had to be located in a different district.

Also in that more central area, Cardenas said he tried to honor the requests from many residents of the Greater Wilshire area to merge their neighborhoods with other communities of interest to the west, in what is likely to become CD 5 (District J on the map above).


Public Comments


At this point, Ali opened the meeting to public comments for 75 minutes, during which four neighborhood council representatives and 62 members of the public provided statements in favor of, in opposition to, or more generally commenting on the mapping proposals submitted so far.

Among the speakers, a total of 24 people expressed support for Cardenas’ Draft Plan K Corrected, with 10 of those specifically mentioning strong support for its District J map, which places the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council area in what will likely become the new CD 5.  Also among the commenters, four people spoke in favor of specific mapping plans other than Draft Plan K Corrected, and 44 people said they oppose Plan K Corrected…but much of that opposition was to very specific details in Draft Plan K Corrected, many of which were then taken up later in the meeting.


Commissioner Discussion


Moving into comissioner discussion, Ali first called on commissioner Alexandra Suh, who at the previous meeting had requested a new map showing how districts could be drawn if both the Greater Wilshire and Koreatown areas were joined in a single city council district, instead of placed in separate districts, as all the proposals so far have shown.  This was accomplished in Draft Plans I and J, which – along with Draft Plan K – were also released a few days before the meeting.


Draft Plan I, which places both the Greater Wilshire and Koreatown areas in the same city council district (District M, the likely CD 13, in both this and the Draft Plan J map).


But in this session, Suh said that while Plans I and J do place both Greater Wilshire and Koreatown in the same distirict (District M in these maps, which would likely be CD 13), they also fail to honor a frequent public request to keep other Asian-American neighborhoods together with Koreatown, and they tend to disenfranchise renters in the likely new CD 4 (District D on these maps).

As an alternative to all proposals submitted so far, Suh she said she would like the commission to consider publicly-submitted map #54277, which she said accomplishes most, if not all, of what she was hoping to see, but doesn’t, in the new Plans I and J, particularly a version of a likely CD 4 (the lime green area in the map  below) that includes both the Greater Wilshire and Koreatown areas, as well as the Park La Brea, Fairfax, Miracle Mile, Griffith Park, and Los Feliz neighborhooods, and at least part of Silverlake:


Full view of Map #54277.


Closer view of Map #54277, with the lime green area representing the intended CD 4.



Detail view of how the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council area would be situated in the proposed Map #54277. Most of the area would lie in the new CD 4, but the Larchmont Village and Oakwood-Maplewood-St. Andrews neighborhoods would wind up in the likely CD 13, and 2/3 of the Sycamore Square neighborhood would be located in the likely CD 10.


Finally, it’s also worth noting here, though Suh did not mention it last night, that current CD 4 Councilmember Nithya Raman lives in Silverlake, and if that area is excluded from the area that becomes the new CD 4, as it would be in Draft Plan K Corrected (and other recent plans), Raman might have to re-locate if she wants to keep the district she was elected to represent.

Because the commissioners did not have time to review this proposal before the meeting, however, only one commissioner, David Hyun, said he was ready to support it, while several others said they would need more time to review it.  So Ali said he would ask the city’s consulting group, Redistricting Partners, to prepare a cleaned up version of Map #54277 for release in the next day or two, and a full discussion of it will be agendized for the commission’s next meeting on Thursday.


Adjustments to Draft Plan K Corrected


At this point, Ali brought the discussion back to a very detailed review of the Draft Plan K Corrected map, noting both the strong overall support expressed by many speakers during the comment period, as well as the many specific grievances that were expressed.  Most of the commissioners seemed to agree with Ali that Draft Plan K Corrected does many things well, including uniting the Koreatown area, keeping many other Neighborhood Council areas (including the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council area) unified, and creating the fairly innovative District O as both a bridge linking the Valley and non-Valley parts of the city, and encompassing many of the city’s entertainment industry-related areas.  At the same time, however, before agreeing completely with Ali’s suggestion that Draft Plan K Corrected should be the direction the commision continues to pursue, the commissioners were also very responsive to the specific criticisms of the Plan that were raised by those 44 speakers during the public comment period.  So Ali led them through the map, area by area, and they looked at each of the most common complaints while Paul Mitchell, from the city’s consulting group Redistricting Partners,  experimented with live, on-the-fly modifications to see how many of the specific objections heard earlier in the evening could be addressed or fully solved with some relatively minor adjustments to Draft Plan K Corrected.

The issues addressed in this detailed map-adjustment session included reuniting a portion of the Beverlywood with the rest of that neighborhood in District J (likely 5)…uniting all of the Eagle Rock neighborhood in District B (likely 14)…keeping Thai Town and Echo park together in District G (likely 13), possibly redistributing “economic engines” that were taken away from CDs 8 and 9 in the last redistricting process, perhaps moving Watts from District 15 to District 8 or 9, whether or not the Bel Air and Bel Air Crest areas, unintentionally separated by Cardenas in this map, could be reunited in a single council district, and whether the boundaries of District O (likely CD 4) could be redrawn to recapture Los Feliz and Silverlake and reunite them with Griffith Park.

Discussion of each of these issues was lengthy and detailed, and Mitchell’s boundary adjustments quickly revealed the domino effects of even small changes to the carefully-crafted map, with every change in district lines resulting in a change in population that had to be compensated for with another adjustment at some other location in both that district and its neighbors.  “And herin lies the rub of redistricting,” commented Cardenas about three-quarters of the way through the painstaking process.  “A butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil, and there’s a tsunami in Florida.”  In the end, the commissioners learned that many, though probably not all, of the issues raised by the plan’s opponents could likely be solved in a subsequent draft of the map, which Mitchell will prepare for further discussion at the next meeting.


Next Steps


The Commission’s next meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, September 30, at 5 p.m. via Zoom.  At that meeting, the group will specifically review a spruced up version of Map #54277 (which will likely be labeled Draft Plan L), and the commission-revised version of Draft Plan K Corrected (which will likely be known as Draft K2, which at least one commissioner said was a highly appropriate name since “K2” is also the name of the world’s tallest mountain, and this process often seems as difficult as scaling that famous peak).

In the meantime, several local neighbors and neighborhoods, many of whom have spoken in strong support of Draft Plan K Corrected, which unites the GWNC area in the likely CD 5, are also likely to turn out to once again to voice support for that plan, and to voice their opposition to the new map #54277, which would once again split the Greater Wilshire area among three districts.

Finally, it’s also worth noting that since Thursday’s meeting will be an officially new meeting, and not just a continuation of the last three-part meeting, people who did speak at one of those last three sessions will be allowed to raise their hand to speak again this week.



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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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  1. Thanks Elizabeth for covering the (hours long) meeting and providing a summary about what was discussed. I have a difficult time following & finding all the jigsaw puzzle pieces. Seems to make sense to organize the neighboring districts that are near each other when possible. That way we have more interests in common.


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