WESTSIDE -The commission charged with drawing district lines for Los Angeles is holding a city-wide public hearing this Saturday, Sept. 11. Members of the public and neighborhood councils will have a chance to weigh in on what redistricting looks like in their communities before draft maps are released in early October.
According to The Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission (LACCRC), the purpose of redistricting is to draw maps that impact communities to "ensure power to determine fair and inclusive representation in a council district."
Michele Prichard was appointed as the Council District 11 commissioner by Councilmember Mike Bonin. Prichard is the Director of the Environmental Health and Justice program at Liberty Hill. According to her bio on the Liberty Hill website, Prichard's role at the non-profit agency is to help guide collaborative efforts to change public policy.
When the Westside Current asked what criteria an appointed commission member must meet to represent a district, we were told appointments were left up to the discretion of appointees [Bonin].
The process of carving the city into updated districts comes with a lot of questions and concerns. While the process has always included community input ---how much that input has on final maps is unknown.
At a July public hearing in which CD11 community members were able to weigh in on what they would like to see the district's future look like, a majority of community members emphasized the importance of keeping the coastal communities of the district together. Some community members said social equity should be part of the equation in drawing district lines.
Daffodil Tyminski, Vice President of the Venice Neighborhood Council, told committee members that maintaining the integrity of the coastline is crucial. "There are such unique issues that we face. We work with many departments in a coastal community; splitting this would make it bureaucratically difficult concerning several issues affecting the coastal communities," said Tyminski. "The impact we have with tourism and the beach is unique. We feel as a community we need to stay to together.”
The sentiment was echoed by David Card, chair of the Pacific Palisades Community Council. "We share an affinity with Santa Monica Mountains and other beach communities, "said Card. "We are a beach and mountain town. With Brentwood, we associate socially. We like our [current] boundaries. We want to be west of the 405 and be associated with Venice, del Rey and other beach cities. We don't want our boundaries to jump the Santa Monica Mountains."
A representative from Westchester also expressed interest in keeping the boundaries where they are. Julie Ross, from the Westchester/Playa Neighborhood Council, said that Westchester has always been a part of Playa del Rey. "To segment it out is not a good idea. Coastal communities have to stay together to protect our coasts."
Speaking on behalf of the Venice Community Housing Corporation, Linda Lucks told committee members that she thought redistricting should like pie wedges with a "greater representation of residents and diversity."
"There is a lack of diversity in the coastal area," said Lucks. "The coastal commission is dedicated to social justice."
According to the LACCRC, criteria used for redistricting include population, compliance with the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, geographical contiguity, and geographic integrity of neighborhoods and communities of interest. The criteria also calls for districts to be drawn utilizing natural boundaries and streets and to encourage geographic compactness to the extent feasible.
"Equitable distribution of race and class is not a charter requirement in redistricting," said co-founder of Rise Together Craig Greiwe. "The legal mandates are "shall". Districts shall be continuous. Meaning, they have to be connected. Ripping an entire community and placing it in another district can't and won't work."
As for what is not supposed to be criteria: "Districts shall not be drawn for purposes of favoring or discriminating against a political party."
According to the LACCRC, draft maps are expected to be released on Oct. 3. A final map is expected to be drawn by Oct. 24. You can click here to learn more about Saturday's meeting.
Saturdays meeting will be held via Zoom. You can click here for more on the meeting.
You can submit a community form here.