Map Does Not Sit Well With Northeast LA Residents

Angelenos urged to submit comments by Feb. 14 deadline.

By Gloria Angelina Castillo, EGP Staff Writer

Fewer than 100 people attended the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting meeting held Monday at Occidental College, where numerous Northeast Los Angeles area residents challenged new proposed district maps and called for boundary changes they said would better serve their communities of interest.

Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOLResidentes del Noreste de Los Ángeles Quieren Más Cambios a los Mapas de Redistribución

Earlier this month, the redistricting commission released draft maps that redraw the city’s 15 council districts to account for the population changes in the 2010 Census. Once approved, the district maps will remain in affect until 2020.

Across the city Angelenos are trying to make sense of new redistricting maps. Northeast L.A. residents had a change Monday to give feedback. (EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

Under the proposed maps, Northeast LA could be split between three council districts — much as it is today. The new districts, seen by many as oddly shaped, would move Glassell Park into Council District 13, currently represented by councilman Eric Garcetti who is running for mayor of Los Angeles.

Mount Washington and Highland Park would become part of Council District 1, where Councilman Ed Reyes is completing his final term due to term limits. And while Jose Huizar’s 14th district loses those areas, the councilman gains most of Downtown Los Angeles.

At previous commission meetings, several Highland Park residents asked that their entire neighborhood— currently split between districts 1 and 14—be in a single council district. They got their wish, but the new maps are not a hit.

“When I see the map, I see CD-14 wrapping around this CD-1 area and it makes absolutely no sense,” said Highland Park resident and business owner Cathy Milligan. “We talk about having cohesive neighborhoods, well the Northeast is a single region and it should be treated that way.”

Milligan said she wants Highland Park to be in CD-14, where she has seen many improvements and an embracing of the arts; something she has not seen in CD-1.
Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council President Chris Smith said the new maps look like Highland Park was just carved out of Northeast LA. He said the Neighborhood Council wants Highland Park to be in the same council district as Eagle Rock.

Tony Bukta, who identified himself as a community activist from Glassell Park, said the new maps look as gerrymandered as they did 10 years ago, but added he thought CD-13 was a good fit for Glassell Park.

“Our experience has been, having three council people allows three people to ignore you instead of one. We are hopeful, however, that in the event that you respect the contiguous boundaries the city established when creating the Glassell Park area, that there is at least one person to go to with a higher degree of probability in achieving something…” he said.

Two smaller areas of Glassell Park assigned to CD-14 and CD-1 should also be moved to the 13th district, said Laura Gutierrez.

Mount Washington resident Stan Sosa told the commission that his neighborhood should be in the same district as other Northeast communities. A couple of speakers suggested that Boyle Heights be moved out of CD-14 in order to keep Northeast LA whole.

Speaking at the meeting, Huizar said he use to be in favor of a district having more than one representative, but has come to believe that it’s in a community’s long term interest to be in a single council district.

New Census numbers dictate that Council Districts 1, 13 and 14 grow by about 66,000 people altogether, and the crux is Northeast Los Angeles, he said.

Huizar said he was pleased with the addition of most of downtown to his district, where he has spearheaded a campaign to revitalize the Broadway business corridor.

While some speakers accused the commission of malfeasance, Commissioner Jose Cornejo, appointed by Councilman Tony Cardenas (CD-6), defended their work, which he described as laying out paperwork that was mismatched to begin with.

The final maps must be completed by March 1, 2012 and handed over to the City Council for review. They must adopt the final maps by July 1, 2012.

Public comments must be submitted by 5pm on Feb. 14. For more information, visit http://redistricting2011.lacity.org/LACITY/default.html

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February 9, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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