LOS ANGELES (CNS) — One day after the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission submitted its recommendations for a draft map of revised council district boundaries, Council President Nury Martinez blasted the proposals, saying the drastic changes have "confused and alienated thousands."
The commission sent its map recommendation to the City Council on Thursday night, but it did not define borders for Paul Krekorian's District 2 and Councilwoman Nithya Raman's District 4.
"As it stands now drastic changes were made to the map that have confused and alienated thousands and threatened to widen the divides between neighborhoods," Martinez said in a statement Friday. "While some areas kept their assets and neighborhoods whole, poverty was concentrated in other communities that have already suffered from disinvestment and neglect for generations."
Martinez said the council would work to ensure the map "does right by all communities and Angelenos."
The draft map moved forward by the 21-member commission has also been criticized by Raman and Krekorian for drastically redefining their districts, and under the recommendations, one of them would end up with entirely new constituents in the west San Fernando Valley.
The commission drafted borders for 13 districts, but left Raman's and Krekorian's without labels for who would represent them.
Raman represents parts of Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Hollywood Hills, Hancock Park and Sherman Oaks, among other neighborhoods. Krekorian represents East San Fernando Valley neighborhoods, including North Hollywood, Studio City and Sun Valley.
The draft map sent to the council would have either Krekorian or Raman representing a district that encompasses parts of both their current districts — the Hollywood Hills, North Hollywood, Valley Glenn and part of Los Feliz. The other would represent an entirely new district with areas of Canoga Park, Winnetka, Reseda and Lake Balboa in the west San Fernando Valley.
The commission finalized its recommendations on Thursday evening. In a statement to City News Service on Friday, the commission's chair, Fred Ali, defended the map, saying the commission "is very proud to send the map adopted at last night's meeting to the City Council for its review. Our work has been informed by Census data, the federal Voting Rights Act and countless hours of public testimony."
He said the commission conducted the process with the participation of more than 12,000 Los Angeles residents who spoke and submitted written testimony.
"From the outset, the Commission made a commitment to transparency and equity. The assertion that this map concentrates poverty in certain communities is patently false. In the final adoption of the map, the Commission took great care to ensure that traditionally disadvantaged districts included critical economic assets," he said, adding that it wasn't the commission's job "to protect elected officials, their jobs or their political futures."
The Redistricting Commission uses data from the U.S. Census to update the city's districts, with each City Council member getting about 260,000 people to represent. The Council will have the chance to make changes to the map before adopting final borders for the 15 districts to go into effect on Jan. 1.
"Last night, a sharply divided Redistricting Commission approved an embarrassingly bad proposal for new Council districts that ignores the input of the public and disenfranchises half a million people," Krekorian said on Thursday. "I am confident that the Council will respect the will of the people instead of the dealmaking of political insiders and reject this unnecessarily divisive and controversial proposal."
He added that some commissioners "insisted on disrupting the San Fernando Valley with dramatic and unnecessary wholesale changes that effectively cancel last year's election results in two districts."
Raman, who was elected last year, echoed Council President Martinez and Krekorian, saying, "City Council has an opportunity to restore the community's faith in the redistricting process when the map comes before us."
"I'm gratified that so many Angelenos were activated to speak up to defend their neighborhoods and their rights as voters. The public record is clear: this map has unacceptable inequities and needs to be changed," she added.