Why redistricting is a hot topic in leaked LA City Council audio

Unlike state legislators and Los Angeles County Commissioners, LA City Councilmembers have the power to draw lines in the districts they represent. It is power that determines not only which voters will be represented, but which businesses, institutions, parks and other public property will be represented. Leaked recordings revealed racist and vile debates that took place over how they wield that power. But the recording also sheds light on lesser-known aspects of redistricting. Asset gerrymandering, or manipulating district maps so that important business or public facilities are placed in specific city council districts. How does the process work, and why do members argue over “assets” other than voters? Here are expert and elected officials’ insights into political incentives, along with a brief overview of Los Angeles’ redistricting. This process is dictated by Section 204 of the City Charter, which requires the City Council to pass an ordinance every ten years to redraw the district boundaries to reflect the latest federal census. Districts must “contain as nearly as possible an equal portion of the city’s total population”, comply with state and federal requirements, keep neighborhoods and communities intact “to the extent possible”, and rely on natural boundaries or street lines . , should be “geographically compact”. The charter states that “If the boundaries or location of a constituency are changed as a result of redistricting, the term of office of a committee member may not be rescinded or terminated prior to the expiration of the term for which such member was elected.” We request a 21-member committee to advise the Redistricting Board, but are not independent in the same way as state and county boards. Instead, its members are chosen by hand, primarily by elected officials, and each City Councilor, Mayor, City Attorney, and City Inspectorate selects one to three of those appointed. The committee holds a public hearing and proposes a new district map, but the final decision is left to the city council to draw the line. Later, the council approved an amended draft rejecting several changes the commission had requested in the Martinez region. The committee held two public hearings as required by state law and formally adopted the draft on December 7th. The primary purpose of drawing constituency lines is to give equal weight to everyone’s vote. It starts with placing roughly equal numbers of people in each area. But the test is not only how many people there are in a district, but also their race and ethnicity. According to the Federal Voting Rights Act and the US Supreme Court rulings, redistricting cannot weaken the voting power of racial and ethnic groups. That’s why many court battles over local maps have focused on demographics, and some state constitutions. And a 2018 study found that while district maps that create safe seats for incumbents could do economic damage to communities, the Voting Rights Act does not require economic effects to be taken into account in the redistricting process. Why does it matter what assets are on which planet? Former City Council member and former city controller Wendy Greuel said the redistricting process has “long been about wealth and demographics.” There is no direct benefit to those who live in the district when boundaries are changed to include or exclude parks, airports, or major businesses. The asset itself never gets closer or farther away. Also, districts do not see changes in the services they receive or the city’s investments when they move subdistrict assets in and out. According to Jonathan Mehta Stein of California Common Cause, a region’s share of a local government budget is not determined by the amount of sales or property taxes accruing within the region. to the legislator. “It all goes back to campaign fundraising and power building,” said Stein, managing director of the group. First, having a business or commercial hub in your district allows you to get in touch with business owners who want to do you a favor, which leads to campaign donations. Second, owning important assets such as space for major events or high-profile businesses gives you the opportunity to mingle with VIPs and influential nationals. “We are building a network. He said he is building Rolodex, which is developing a social cash that will help when running for high office. What was revealed in the call was that members of Congress “cost the political power of one race or ethnic group at the expense of another,” Stein said. “But their own concern for the future of their political careers worked amid all racism… .When they seek to secure economic assets in their own territories or in the territories of their friends, they are trying to secure more power, influence, and glide paths to higher positions for themselves and their friends.” Economist Christopher Thornberg, founder and CEO of Beacon Economics, said that using assets like Crypto.com Arena “you can play with big players for sure. You’re dancing with AEG.” “It has real value,” Thornberg said from a political showmanship standpoint. I need help.” Wink and poke open wallet (he is referring to a controversial practice known as “donation will”), but some officials claim the property can provide significant indirect benefits to local residents. This is Cityatti, Mike Feuer believes that the discussion of equitable distribution of assets should be part of the redistricting process (he also argues that committee members should have no say in this process, more on this later). According to Feuer, a key asset “allows us to create a focal point for jobs and employment, which is a very important issue.” As more developers seek construction in the area, Feuer said the land use rights could be used to negotiate external benefits such as cheaper housing, local workforce and potentially parks and recreational facilities. “You can imagine an array of public improvements,” he said. “There are many public benefits that a person with meaningful rights to a key asset can impose as a condition of further development there.” This is what happened around the Crypto.com Arena and USC campus, both of which help to explain why. The area has been the target of a rebalancing fight in a recent cycle. Greuel said a key asset can help even when there is no development involved. If you have AEG’s LA Live in your district, she said, “you can go to AEG and say, ‘I need to fund this program that will help my residents’.” “You can’t go to them and ask for money for a cleaning program or help the local children,” she said. Proceeds can be sent back to the project there. California Attie. Generation Rob Bonta announced on Wednesday that his office would be investigating the city’s redistricting process in light of leaked audio. He mentioned the possibility of “civil or criminal” liability, but it’s not clear what that means for the new district map approved last year. They do not modify it for their own benefit. “If you give elected officials the power to decide their political territories, it’s a secret to a conflict of interest and an invitation to gossip,” Foyer told reporters on Wednesday. Creating an independent commission requires voters to amend the city charter through ballot measures. Because the current route is “polluted,” he said he thinks voters should approve two new line drawing campaigns. Common Cause’s Stein said the independent commission model has been proven to work in states, counties and the city of Long Beach. If Congress doesn’t propose a ballot measure to change, he said he will “start organizing with allies to put independent restrictions on voting in 2024.” do it though “On the one hand, it’s good to recognize that this area has been damaged and redraw it using an independent process,” Stein said. “But at the same time, you have to recognize that you are mobilizing the community. [to draw new district lines] It takes months for advocates and local groups to educate and engage. And it’s really hard to muster the time, ability and energy to do it over and over again. I just want to think about how to approach the next step.” About the Times Utility Journalism Team This article is from the Times Utility Journalism Team. Our mission is essential to the lives of Southern Californians by solving problems, answering questions, and publishing information to aid decision-making. We serve audiences in and around Los Angeles, including current Times subscribers and diverse communities that historically have not met their needs with our coverage. Email utility (at) latimes.com or our journalists: Matt Ballinger, Jon Healey, Ada Tseng, Jessica Roy and Karen Garcia.
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