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Redistricting the Council: The Pieces Don't Add Up to a Plan

Puzzled
Puzzled | Photo: Yann/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Slicing and dicing Los Angeles into new city council districts isn't going to be pretty, easy or even fair. As Jessica Levinson noted at 1st and Spring, the special commission set up to draw new boundaries voted a bare majority to release a proposed map that would make - and break - political ambitions at City Hall.

And that has everyone wondering how the puzzle pieces will eventually fall into place.

The commission chairman has said he will convene a series of public meetings to gather comments, before the commission approves a final map by the March 1 deadline. But the city council will have the final say on what's in and what's out of a member's district.

And that's the problem, according to the City Maven. The boundary revisions include:

West Hills moving from the Third District to the Twelfth

  • Sunland-Tujunga moving from the Second District to the Seventh

  • The Sixth District picking up Foothill Trails and Shadow Hills

  • The Second District picking up all of Studio City and Toluca Lake, which were previously part of the Fourth District

  • Lake Balboa, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Bel-Air and the Hollywood/Highland complex moving into the Fourth District

  • The Fifth District losing its Valley neighborhoods, picking up Mid-City West, South Robertson and Greater Wilshire

  • LAX remaining in the Eleventh District but part of Westchester moving to the Eighth District

  • The First District picking up most of Highland Park

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What's in and what's out, according to the Los Angeles Times, leaves some city council members geographically adrift:

For Valley historian Kevin Roderick at LA Observed:

Or maybe the map is just a naked money grab, as LA Weekly reporter Simone Wilson tartly noted:

Long-time city hall watcher Ron Kaye had a more Machiavellian assessment:

 

(The commission majority) released maps deliberately intended to infuriate almost everybody so that people will be begging for mercy and be willing to accept crumbs from the table of power as usual and settle for districts that are only half as gerrymandered as these.

 

The puzzle pieces will have to fit together soon. And when they do, there will be losers and winners at City Hall.

D. J. Waldie, author, historian, and as the New York Times said in 2007, "a gorgeous distiller of architectural and social history," writes about Los Angeles on KCET's SoCal Focus blog.