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Redistricting commission votes on council districts: New map, same problems

By Hayley Fox
Published: Thursday, February 16, 2012, at 03:01PM
courtesy of L.A. Redistricting Commission

This is the initial draft map. It will be updated and changed based on amendments passed at last night's council meeting.

Last night the L.A. redistricting commission voted (for more than nine hours) on 75 proposed changes to the draft council district map. The changes that passed will be implemented in the redrawing of the map, and this has huge implications for the Downtown community.

Ninth District councilwoman Jan Perry said the outcome was "not a surprise" but she was disappointed that the council didn't heed her or her constituents' recommendations. After last night's vote, Perry is still primed to lose most of her Downtown real estate except for L.A. Live, the Staples Center and the Convention Center. She said that the map ruined the "economic nexus between Downtown and South Los Angeles."

Perry will no longer be gaining Watts or it's three housing projects, but her district will include USC. Although this addition seems prestigious and beneficial, Perry said USC is not an asset - it's a "non-profit private institution" with a "transient" (student) population.

The Ninth District will be reclaiming the Central-Alameda Corridor and in South L.A., the area surrounding Jefferson High School and two area parks.

After last night, Councilman José Huizar and the 14th District are inching closer to their goal of uniting all of Downtown into one district - and it's looking like it will be his district. Huizar's 14th will now include the entire Fashion District as well as South Park and Skid Row.

"I've been trying to follow Jan Perry's logic as to why Downtown should remain in CD9 [Council District 9] - and I can't," said Huizar. "The arguments being made don't necessarily hold water at this time."

Huizar said that his district is being pushed out by other norther districts, and that there's nowhere else for the 14th to go except Downtown. Putting all of Downtown in one district is "good public policy," said Huizar, and his district was the obvious choice for this move.

In previous public appearances, Perry's made the argument that if the draft map stands, she will have the poorest district in L.A. Huizar disagreed, saying the numbers show that his and Perry's district have relatively similar poverty rates.

The updated map will be drawn, presented to City Council, and online for the public by Feb. 18. Then, the commission will meet again to discuss a final round of amendments and adjustments before the City Council votes on its final approval.

Perry said the last time she was involved in L.A.'s redistricting process the final map ended up taking over six months to produce. The deadline for this map is set for July 1.

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