The commission in charge of redrawing electoral districts in Los Angeles presented the preliminary map with changes, justifiably causing a stir among City Council members.
This reaction is normal every 10 years, when the city’s political geography is adapted to the demographic changes that occurred during the previous decade.
The 2010 Census showed that 48.5% of Angelenos are Latino, 28.6% are white, 11.3% are Asian and 9.2% are African-American. While Latinos account for almost half of the population, only five out of 14 districts are considered Hispanic majority districts.
The map drastically changes the design of two districts and modifies aspects of several others, so what represents a gain for one Council member is a loss for another.
What matters is following legal guidelines that call for creating a racial and ethnic minority district whenever possible, and also for preserving the integrity of communities with shared interests, among other recommendations. We think the map reinforces the Latino presence, although it does not very clearly open up a sixth Latino majority district.
From now on, citizens will play a key role in making necessary adjustments to the draft map.
To that end, there will be several public hearings so that individuals, neighborhood groups and all interested organizations can express their opinions and help develop the final map. (Hearing dates and locations are included in this issue.)
Electoral districts are the basis of the City Council’s political power, and should adequately reflect demographic changes. Therefore, everyone should participate in the redistricting process.