After an intense summer and fall of official deliberation, thousands of public comments, and meetings, meetings and more meetings, it’s finally starting to feel like the Los Angeles City Council redistricting process is beginning to wind down and focus on just a few outstanding issues.
As we reported yesterday, the City Council on Tuesday approved its final choice of a draft map for new council districts, dubbed the “Hybrid” map because it combines many of the recommendations from the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission for the city side of the Hollywood Hills with some fairly extensive changes in San Fernando Valley districts that were reportedly recommended by the Los Angeles Federation of Labor.
The Hybrid map was opened to public comment in the first of two Special Meetings of the City Council yesterday afternoon, and after nearly 50 comments during the two-hour session, it was clear that many issues that caused public outcry throughout much of the redistricting process have been at least mostly resolved (either not mentioned at all yesterday, or only in the context of thanks for addressing them), with only a few specific sticking points remaining and drawing significant numbers of comments and questions.
The remaining points of contention included the currently recommended splits of both the Reseda and Studio City areas between two council districts (CDs 6 and 2 for Reseda, and 4 and 2 for Studio City), and the fate of two key economic “engines” in south LA – USC and its adjacent Exposition Park museums and stadiums. (Those two locations were originally in CD 8, but given to CD 9 in the 2012 redistricting cycle, and the two districts have been fighting over them throughout the current redistricting process. The Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission’s final map recommendation, Draft Plan K 2.5, would have placed USC in CD 9, and Exposition Park in CD 8, but both were moved to CD 9 after the City Council took over the mapping process…and despite at least two subsequent motions by CD 8 Council Member Marqueece Harris-Dawson to move them to CD 8, they have remained ever since in CD 9.)
All in all, there were at least seven comments yesterday complaining about the Reseda and/or Studio splits, and eight comments asking that USC and Exposition Park be returned to CD 8.
Among other comments, there were two of note from our Greater Wilshire area. First, Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council president Conrad Starr objected to at least one City Council notice that said the GWNC had submitted a Community Impact Statement in favor of the Hybrid map. But Starr clarified that the GWNC submitted a statement in favor of the Redistricting Commission’s earlier Draft Plan K 2.5, which kept the GWNC area largely whole in CD 5, and that the group had not yet weighed in on the Council’s own Hybrid map.
[Note: the GWNC did finally update its position to address the Hybrid map at its own monthly meeting last night, several hours after the City Council meeting. Read that story here.]
Also, St. Andrews Square resident Patricia Carroll (who’s also a member of the GWNC board) asked that the boundary between the GWNC and Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council areas be moved from the middle of Western Ave., as it now appears on the Hybrid map, to the property line behind the properties on the west side of Western, so that both sides of Western Ave. will be located in CD 10, and both sides of Manhattan Place, to the west, will be in CD 13, which would conform to the long-established neighborhood council boundaries in the area.
There were a few more comments requesting similar small technical changes in other parts of the city, as well as a few people requesting slightly larger changes (such as that a portion of the Sepulveda Basin area be moved to the same council district as Encino). But by far the biggest single category of comments was general praise for the efforts to date, with 16 people simply expressing thanks for the Hybrid map and its various accomplishments, and only about five people voicing general dissatisfaction with the process as a whole (not including the more specific criticisms of individual community or border issues).
The second of the Council’s two public hearings on the Hybrid map will be conducted in another Special Meeting attached to its regular meeting on Tuesday, November 23. An agenda and video link will be posted on the Council’s calendar page a few days before that meeting (and call-in information for public comments will be printed in the agenda).
And after the second public hearing on the Hybrid map, all that remains is the Council’s final vote, scheduled for Wednesday, December 1. The new council districts will go into effect on January 1.
[Note: This story was updated after its initial publication to correct the council district for the eastern part of the GWNC area.]