Being counted: redistricting
Proposed district maps available for review
Materializing like clockwork every decade, the Census generally heralds another period of population growth. Following in its wake, but not as widely known, redistricting is the procedure involving the adjustment of boundary lines of individual electoral divisions to fit these changing population shifts. An “electoral division” in this context simply means a geographic area designated for the selection of a representative (be it a Congressional, state, or similar constituency) during a political contest or election (excluding federal senatorial seats, which are not subject to population shifts).
Redistricting as a political practice is a comparatively new development, having been put into action since the 1960s. In its simplest form, it is meant to ensure uniformity and fairness during the electoral process by guaranteeing that each voting section or “bloc” has an equal number of voters, and thusly wage equivalent influence during the execution of the political process.
Previously, certain areas of large geographic size with small numbers of residents had equal or greater political “clout” than more densely populated locales whose inhabitants occupied significantly smaller plots of land.
To give an example, Los Angeles County which contains more citizens than most states, would be overshadowed by Inyo County to the northeast, bordering Nevada, due to Inyo being more than twice its size in terms of square miles. But with a total of perhaps 18,000 residents, Inyo is dwarfed by even moderately sized cities such as Inglewood.
In this manner, theoretically every person’s vote will carry the same weight.
As the population changes, the relative number of individuals (located within a specific region) belonging to a specific cultural or ethnic group is likely to fluctuate as well. The last decade has seen a migration of Black people from Los Angeles proper, to outlying areas in the Inland Empire (Moreno Valley, Riverside, San Bernardino, and so on), and other enclaves such as Lancaster, Palmdale, and other segments of the Antelope Valley. This transition will surely mean a change in the political representation of both the city and the outlying areas.
Preliminary maps, which reflect the shifts, have already been drawn and may be seen at the website http://www.redrawca.org/. Maintained by the California Redistricting Commission (CRC), the materials found here will enable anyone to gauge the potential impact redistricting might have on their particular community. Additionally, interested parties are encouraged to attend a public hearing held by the CRC this evening (Thursday, June 16) at 6 p.m. at Culver City Hall, 9770 Culver Blvd. (first floor).
Finally, additional information maybe gleaned by visiting the regional redistricting assistance site at the USC Village Shopping Center, 3167 #F, S. Hoover Street. Official hours are Wednesday 3-9 p.m., Thursday 3-9 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m., where personnel are ready to help people gain an understanding of a mundane process that nonetheless will influence state progress in the near future.
According to a new visualization pre-map published last weekend by the California Redistricting Commission, (CRC), South Los Angeles and Malibu have enough in common that they should be lumped together into one voting district.
That bombshell was released last weekend on the web site www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov, and has the African American community reeling and fuming.
There are clearly more important immediate things for the California Black community to worry about—the level of involvement of the L.A. Sheriff’s Department in the kidnap, murder and possible rape of Mitrice Richardson; electing Danny Tabor and finally ending the seemingly endless mayoral election process in Inglewood; and getting the votes finally counted between Harris and Cooley, for example.
Nevertheless, as evolving political analysts, it is important for us to keep up with the whole process, from federal to water district level.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—An attorney representing people in three Los Angeles council districts accused city officials today of illegally using race as the basis for redrawing council district lines.
Leo Terrell, who is Black, said the redrawn boundaries were created to strengthen the Black voting bloc in the 10th District represented by Council President Herb Wesson, while carving Koreatown into several different districts, effectively diluting the voting power of the predominantly Asian neighborhood.
Mayor James T. Butts’ City Council Initiative Policy to increase transparency, reduce Council member grandstanding, and reprimand to those who submit initiatives without doing their homework first, was passed with his deciding vote.
The four Council members were split over the policy. Two of them took offense, believing that it infringes on their right to free speech and insults their work while the other two thought it enhances the city’s governance.
The California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CCRC) will be voting on the final iteration of redistricting maps this week. These maps are supposed to reflect the demographic shifts in the state’s population following the 2010 Census.