In the City Council redistricting meetings for CD 4 and CD5 that we’ve covered, city officials have said they will soon have a new tool that allows members of the public to draw their own suggested neighborhood and City Council District boundaries, as input into the redistricting process. The tool wasn’t available yet at the time of those meetings, but yesterday the city finally launched Districtr – a new, easy-to-use mapping website that allows you to create and share your suggestions for new City Council District boundaries, smaller “communities of interest” that you’d like to see contained within a specific city council district, and more. It also allows you to create boundaries based on Neighborhood Council districts, Los Angeles Times-defined neighborhoods, or completely free-hand, independent of any currently-established boundaries.
The goal of the redistricting process is to create 15 council districts across the city, each with a population of approximately 259,000 people, and containing/balancing other kinds of interests or characteristics as well.
At both of the redistricting meetings we’ve attended so far, we heard many comments from the public that people would like to see city council boundaries based on neighborhood council boundaries (so specific neighborhood council areas and the neighborhoods they contain are not split between two or more city council districts), and that the new city council districts consist of neighborhoods and neighborhood council areas that are as contiguous as possible, and not strung or stretched out across large swaths of the city with vastly different characteristics (as CD 4 is currently).
So we gave the mapping tool a try, seeing what happens when we draw possible new CD 4 boundaries using contiguous neighborhood council districts in our area, and trying to get as close to possible to the 259,000 population target (Districtr helps you keep track of the total population as you’re building your map). We also kept the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council and Mid City West Neighborhood Council areas together in each map, since these two areas have always worked closely together and have many population characteristics and interests/issues in common.
Of the four possibilities four we mapped, the first one, which includes all of the Hollywood-area NCs, but not Atwater Village, Silverlake, or Koreatown, comes the closest to the target population number. The others are all slightly further over the target, but still well under 300,000. And all are certainly more compact than the current CD 4 configuration. But please note that we’re not recommending any of them. They’re all just our own little doodles and musings at this point, to show you how the new tool works.
If you’d like to try your own hand at redistricting, with your own community and your own criteria (you definitely don’t have to use the NC boundaries, as we did), go to https://districtr.org/event/MapsofLA to get started. And if/when you come up with a map you like, you can easily save it to the public website, and/or share with friends, neighbors, your city council district office, the city redistricting commission, or anyone else you’d like to show it to.