Dear Hancock Park & Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council Surrounding Neighbors:
We are approaching the end of the LA City Council redistricting process. There are four more public hearings scheduled this month before the commission presents its final draft to the City Council.
Now is the time for everyone to get engaged! Read on for why we need to support this uniquely transparent effort that has resulted in a map that keeps our neighborhoods together!
For decades, redistricting has been done behind closed doors by incumbents or their loyal staff members. Community input and suggestions from neighborhood leaders was just a sham show to pretend that the public is being listened to. Gerrymandering districts to favor specific political interests or incumbents within legislative bodies resulting in districts with odd boundaries was the norm.
Well, in 2021 something remarkable is happening. When the independent redistricting commission composed of appointees from every city council district convened months ago, they created ground rules for ethical behavior. They agreed to follow census data, voting rights protections, communities of interest, neighborhood council boundaries and the voices of the people. They created principles of how they would be respectful of each other and the communities they were about to move around on a map. And they agreed that this time, the process would be transparent and done in the open. Anyone who has participated in a Zoom meeting can watch as they work through the mapping responding to community input, particularly for communities of interest including neighborhood council boundaries.
We often don’t feel like we have a lot to applaud at City Hall between the crime and ever-growing numbers of unhoused, broken streets and poor air quality. Yet this redistricting commission has stood on principle and stood by the community. They have been ethical and listened to so many neighborhood voices. And they adopted Draft Map K.25 – Hancock Park and our Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council are together in CD5 – with our communities of interest – as we have been advocating for since the last redistricting process a decade ago.
Despite its obvious transparent efforts, the work of the commission is under attack. Most notably, from Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Nithya Raman, whose districts are also being redrawn.
Tuesday, Raman posted on social media, “Last week the LA City Redistricting Commission moved forward with a proposed map that effectively *erases* our district in its current form.”
Raman continued, “What is saddest is to me is that these maps decimate the voices of new voters in a historic election – one that some more renters, more young people, and more people of color participate than ever before. I’ve spent almost 2 years telling people in LA that their voices mattered. That engaging in city government could make real change. Now, thanks to the actions of a few unelected commissioners, the voices of thousands of Angelenos are being erased.”
She urged her 28,000 Instagram followers to contact the commission and “make your voice heard. YOU have the opportunity to offer comment on the draft map before it goes to Council for a final vote,” posted Raman.
In response to the criticism, Chairman Fred Ali told the Los Angeles Times, “This commission has taken very, very seriously the testimony it receives, in combination with the data.”
The Los Angeles Times reported: “Ali defended the commission’s work so far, saying that unlike previous decades, line-drawing decisions are being made not behind closed doors but in public — viewable on Zoom during each of the panel’s lengthy evening meetings.
The commission, he said, is basing its decisions not on where a politician lives but on U.S. Census data, public input and on proposals aimed at keeping “communities of interest” together in the same council district.”
The commission needs to hear from you! We need your voices again in the upcoming Redistricting meetings starting tonight.
The process is not over yet. This commission will continue to work and adjustments will be made to the draft map to create a map for the City of LA. That map will then be sent to City Council for their own review and revision process and a final vote. Though shifts around Council Districts will happen, what matters is that this commission is unprecedented in putting census data, population, voting rights protections, communities of interest, neighborhood council boundaries and the voices of the people first over sole political interest.
Participate in this process! Lend your voice in the upcoming meetings:
Wednesday, October 6th at 6 p.m.
Wednesday, October 13th at 6 p.m.
Saturday, October 9th at 10:00 a.m.
Saturday, October 16th at 10 a.m.
Click to join the Zoom hearings!
Then, send emails with your message to the commission at:
[email protected], [email protected], and [email protected]
If you need a suggestion of what to say, please feel free to cut and paste in the following message or something similar:
Dear Redistricting Commissioners,
I am a resident of Hancock Park. I support the Hancock Park Homeowners Association recommendation for Commission-approved Map Plan K2.5. This map includes all of Hancock Park, GWNC and communities of interest to the west together in CD5! With these communities, we share historical designations, religious affiliations and institutions, similar zoning issues, as well as numerous parks. Thank you for all your work and your diligence in ensuring that this process is data-driven and not politically gerrymandered.
Please pass this along to your neighbors. We will be living with these council districts for 10 years!