A Open Letter from City Councilman Bernard Parks
- While this process may serve some politicians and their quest for future elections, the process is not serving you.
- The Redistricting Commission was part of a package of reforms approved by voters in 1999 with overwhelming support. The purpose was to make the once-a-decade process of drawing district boundaries less political, more transparent, and give the residents more of a say in how the city would be organized for the purpose of representing their interests and needs on the 15-member City Council.
- The Commission and the integrity of the process was corrupted from the very start when they selected Andrew Westall - Council President Herb Wesson's senior advisor- to serve as the Executive Director.
- The Commission lost transparency when they opted to split into three subcommittees to draw the district boundaries in secret
- The Commission lost credibility when they held numerous public hearings in every part of Los Angeles, promising to listen to community input, and then emerged from secret meetings to propose radical changes that the overwhelming majority of residents were opposed to.
- The Commission failed to follow city charter requirements that districts be based on equal population, that neighborhoods and communities not be split and that districts be compact.
- The media, community groups, neighborhood councils, open-government activists and commissioners themselves have described the Commission process as: “Corrupt, ” “Dysfunctional,” “Deeply Flawed,” “a Puppet Show,” “Devoid of Any Redeeming Qualities,” “A Mess of Gerrymandered Land Grabs.”
- The proposal would turn Districts 8(Councilmember Parks) and 9(Councilmember Perry) into impoverished communities with few opportunities for development
- South LA has already been dealt a huge blow by the elimination of the Community Redevelopment Agency and cuts to the federal Community Development Block Grant program. This proposal would doom South LA to a decade of no growth, no development, no jobs, and no hope.
- The driving motivation behind the maps is to segregate voters into districts based upon race
- The s plan to lop off huge chunks of the African-American vote in CD8 and give them to Council District 10(CD10), would weaken the influence of the only majority African-American district in the city. There are laws, such as the Voting Rights Act, that undeniably protect non-white majority districts like CD8. However, the commission has decided to only acknowledge the laws protecting the majority-Latino districts of 1, 7 and 14.
- Proponents will tell you is that they are “trying to save three black seats". That is a lie. Even though Council Districts 9 and 10 have been represented by African American councilmembers since the 1960's, only about 30% of the residents in those districts are voting-age African American citizens. Former councilmembers from those districts - such as 10th District Councilman (and then mayor) Tom Bradley - were elected by a coalition of races. The 8th District is the only majority African American district.
- The commission’s push for another Latino seat on the city council is to the detriment of the city’s African-American Community. Creating such a seat calls for a study that proves racially polarized voting exists, an assertion that is contradicted by the voters of this diverse city electing an African-American mayor, a Latino mayor, a Latino sheriff, and a Latino assessor.
- The City Attorney’s own representative on the Commission stated in her minority report that Council District 8 was “badly underserved in this process, for no apparent reason” and that the Commission's actions increase the risk of litigation.
- South LA should not be treated like a junkyard, with other districts taking the spare parts they want and dumping those they don't.
- We demand fair maps with fair boundaries, so that every part of Los Angeles has an equal opportunity to grow and thrive in the 21st century!