While we’ve been busy watching the Los Angeles City Council redistricting process for the last few months, LA County has also been in the process of redrawing borders for its Supervisorial Districts. And unlike the city council, for which there are 15 districts representing about 4 million people (or about 260,000 people per district) there are just five supervisorial districts representing a total of about 10 million people in LA County. You might think that the smaller number of districts would make it easier to redraw district lines, simply because there are fewer districts overall…but it’s definitely not so simple when you realize that this also involves balancing the needs and representation of about 2 million people per district.
Anyway, we caught up with the LA County process last night, as its Citizens Redistricting Commission held its final public hearing on three maps it’s currently considering. The current maps are labeled B3 (the third iteration of the commission’s original Map B), F2 (the second iteration of the commission’s original Map F), and G1, the first iteration of Map G. Here are the overall views of each map:
Because our Greater Wilshire area lies in the middle of the city, where several district boundaries converge, it looks like there will be at least one split in our area, no matter which of the draft maps are chosen. Here are how the district borders could land in our neighborhoods, with the approximate borders of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council outlined in red.
The Greater Wilshire divisions are definitely cleanest in Map F2, while Maps B3 and G1 create some very small, and very awkward divisions in the SW corner of the area, dividing the tiny, 12-square-block Sycamore Square neighborhood in both of those maps, and also the Brookside neighborhood, just east of Sycamore Square, in Map G1.
At last night’s hearing, 116 people spoke during the public comment period, with nearly 80 of those advocating for map F2, with some revisions proposed in another map – OP 081 – submitted by the People’s Bloc lobbying group.
It’s worth noting for our readers, though, that this map, too, unlike the original Map F2, would create some awkward bisections along 8th St. in both the Sycamore Square and Brookside neighborhoods in the SW corner of the GWNC.
The second largest group of public comments at last night’s meeting – about 20 of them- addressed Map B3, with about half of those from residents of several coastal “Gateway” communities praising the map for keeping those communities together in a single district. But the other half of the B3 commenters – all environmental and wildlife advocates – advocated returning to the previous Map B2 – which they said did a better job of keeping not only the coastal communities, but also several specific wetlands and wildlife habitat areas in those areas, together in the same district.
Finally, several other people also advocated for creating a new map – similar to publicly submitted map OP 091 – which modifies Map G1 to create a single supervisorial district for the San Fernando Valley.
The LA County Citizens Redistricting Commission is facing the same December deadline for submitting its final map and report that the other local redistricting bodies are facing, and the Commissioners are aiming to have those items ready for final approval on December 15. But there’s a lot of work to do between now and then, including narrowing down the current three map choices to just one, making final adjustments to that map to minimize neighborhood and neighborhood council area splits wherever possible, and making sure the new districts conform to all Voting Rights Act and other legal requirements for voter, ethnic and other representation.
So that means there will be at least three more meetings – currently scheduled for tonight, Wednesday, December 8, at 7:30 p.m., via Zoom, Sunday, December 12, at 3:00 p.m., via Zoom, and next Wednesday, Decembers 15, at 5:00 p.m., also via Zoom. At last night’s meeting, however, commissioners discussed the possibility – if enough members are available – of adding an additional meeting or two beyond those currently scheduled, so stay tuned and check the Commission’s meeting page to see if any of those materialize.
If you would like to weigh in on any of the current maps, public comments can be made during the upcoming meetings, or submitted online via the Commission’s public comment form at https://publiccomment.redistricting.lacounty.gov/