Wednesday, February 1, 2012

City Council Redistricting: Speak Up Now Or We're Stuck For The Next 10 Years

Photo: Diane Edwardson, January 25, 2012.  I knew I'd find a use for this photo.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The Draft City Council Redistricting Maps were revealed last week. I don't want to be in City Council District 4 (CD4).  Councilmember Tom LaBonge's new district (CD4) would stretch from the 2 & 5 Freeways to Lake Balboa and Van Nuys - we would have a tough time getting any City Councilmember to focus on our neighborhood problems with such a wide ranging district.

Every 10 years the City is supposed to redraw the City Council districts based on the census.  You can see proposed districts on the City's Redistricting website:

Supposedly you can draw your own maps on their website.  I tried several times in the past 2 months but was unable to get an active page to work with.

The Red Car Property Neighborhood has been in CD13 since 1993.  Eric Garcetti is our current City Councilmember. Prior to Garcetti, Jackie Goldberg was our City Councilmember.  Goldberg inspired many long-time residents in their commitment to community activism.  CD13 has a tradition of liberal activism and open-minded attitudes. 

I see CD4, as old guard Los Feliz and Hancock Park, so aptly represented by John Ferraro, for what seemed like, forever.  When Ferraro died in office, LaBonge, a former Ferraro aide, won election easily. 

If the Red Car Property Neighborhood is consumed by CD4, we would be at a disadvantage in some of our biggest issues.

The Red Car Property Neighborhood would lose all connection to proposed CD13.  Our neighborhood was cut off from Elysian Heights & Elysian Valley by construction of the 2 & 5 Freeways in the early 1960s.  The Red Car Neighborhood orients toward the freeways and the LA River

Despite being walking distance to the LA River we would no longer have a City Council Office with any interest in preserving nor enhancing our connections to the LA River and Elysian Valley.  CD4 would end at Silver Lake edge of the 5 & 2 Freeways - furthering our neighborhood's island status

The 2 Freeway Terminus is being redesigned amid controversy and a jumble of politicians on either side of the 2 Freeway.  The Echo Park side of the 2 Freeway and the Elysian Valley side of the 5 Freeway would remain in the proposed CD13.Yet somehow, the former Bert Co site at the Terminus would remain CD13.

With all the wrangling over the effects of the 2 Freeway Terminus redesign, we would have to deal with 2 City Council offices, as well as 2 State Assemblymembers.  The interests between City Council Districts never seem to cooperate in our neighborhood.

Anyone who has ever dealt with politicians, on any issue, knows it's easier to deal with one representative of the area instead of two.  When neighborhoods are divided by politicians, neighbors cannot work effectively on shared interests like the 2 Freeway Terminus Redesign or LA River connections.

We would have no voice in the Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract (across the 2 Freeway from Corralitas Drive) where a controversial 16-lot subdivision will destroy 3 acres of native trees and wildlife habitat.

The City is holding 7 hearings before the maps become final.  Politicians are saying the maps are not yet final.  Even LaBonge isn't happy with the proposed CD4.  See: January 29, 2012 LA Times Story. 

Let the commission know you're unhappy about being shifted into a City Council District that would so divide this or any future City Councilmember's attention so badly, you want no part of it.  Let's stay in CD13.  (CD13's Garcetti is termed out, and running for mayor in 2013.  This is not an endorsement.)

Attend one of the hearings listed below or on the City Council Redistricting website.  Fill out the comment form on the Redistricting website, where it will supposedly be a part of the public record.

Maps will be become final March 1, 2012, and go into effect July 1, 2012. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012
6:30 PM
Wilshire Ebell Theatre
4401 W. 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90005

Monday, February 6, 2012
6:30 PM
Occidental College, Thorne Hall
1600 Campus Road, Los Angeles, CA 90041

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
6:30 PM
City Hall, John Ferraro Chambers
200 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90041

Thursday, February 9, 2012
6:30 PM
Walter Reed Middle School Auditorium
4525 Irvine Ave. Studio City, CA. 91602