After more than a dozen public hearings and several thousand public comments, the County of Los Angeles Citizens Redistricting Commission approved a final map on December 15, redrawing the lines for all five supervisorial districts.
Black advocates—who openly expressed concern that several of the proposed map options would have ended the political power African Americans have held in the 2nd District for the last 30 years—are pleased with the outcome.
“Most notably,” said one community activist, “many historic communities of interest were kept or made whole, creating new opportunities for equitable representation. It is a historic step forward that the regions of the east side of L.A., greater South L.A. and the Southeast L.A. will each be more able to elect candidates of choice over the next ten years and have opportunity for greater impact on L.A. County matters.”
“To look at the basic criteria—and that is equal population supporting the spirit of the voting rights act— and ensuring that we can all have equity…I think you have arrived at that with the current map”, observed Jacqueline DuPont-Walker, a representative of the AME Church’s Fifth District.
It was good news as well for Carson City Councilman Jawane Hilton, who publicly appealed to Commissioners to keep Carson in the 2nd District.
“I’m happy that Carson is still kept together as one municipality within the Second District,” Hilton said. “Carson remaining in District 2 will help to ensure that African Americans are positioned to have access to that seat for the next decade.”
Among the changes in the new 2nd District map are the inclusion of the predominantly white beach communities of El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Marina Del Rey along with Larchmont, the Grove and the Los Angeles International Airport. Communities no longer part of the 2nd District include Palms, Mar Vista, a portion of Culver City, the downtown L.A. Fashion District, Skid Row and Lynwood.
While the Voting Rights Act mandates that redistricting lines be drawn so that racial and ethnic groups have a fair chance to elect a candidate of their choice, the declining population of Blacks in L.A. County have made that more of a challenge over the last ten years.
The new map will add more white communities to the 2nd District increasing their citizen voting age population (CVAP) to 20.30 percent, but it will also maintain the district’s Black CVAP at 28.9 percent. Latinos are still in the majority with a CVAP of 37.97%, while Asians rank fourth with a CVAP of 11.19%.
“As the Supervisor representing the Second District, I’m excited to welcome the coastal cities, and one of the biggest economic drivers in the region, Los Angeles International Airport,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Holly J. Mitchell. “From Baldwin Hills to the beach cities and all the neighborhoods in between, I’m focused on providing continuity in public service and meeting the diverse needs of my constituents. While their County representation may have changed, cities, communities, and residents will not experience disruption in services and resources. The Board of Supervisors will be working together to familiarize the residents of Los Angeles County with their new representatives.
“I appreciate the members of the public who stepped up and volunteered to serve on the commission and to those who participated in this exercise in democracy by adding their voice to the redistricting process.”
“I support this map. It’s not perfect,” said Commission Co-Chair Carolyn Williams, “but we’re making decisions for ten million people in the county of Los Angeles. We’ve tried to be objective and open about the moves we’ve made, and we have done our best.”