Final redistricting vote set
Leaders still alert to efforts to change districts
It is down to the wire and leaders in the African American community continue to remain vigilant about the redistricting effort being conducted by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CCRC).
In fact, this past weekend, a pitched battle ensued as some of the commissioners attempted to condense all of the African American districts into one.
“We had this fight on July 4, and thought we had prevailed,” says Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who said he and others in the African American Redistricting Collaborative were surprised by the move on Sunday.
Ultimately, the commission voted to defeat that proposal and Friday is expected to release and vote on a final set of maps.
With the three congressional districts remaining essentially intact, Harris-Dawson said the collaborative is still worried about the boundaries of the districts, something they did not get the opportunity to address with the commission because of the battle over collapsing the three districts into one.
“The framework with the three seats is there, but we are still unhappy with the details,” noted Harris-Dawson, head of the Community Coalition.
Among the problems, the collaborative has with the current district line proposals is the fact that traditionally conservative Torrance is included in an Inglewood district and that the predominantly African American Vermont Knolls community, which sits in the LAX flight path, is lumped in with a Culver City district.
“Vermont Knolls is in the flight path and has become an anchor neighborhood in the Inglewood district,” said Harris-Dawson, who hesitates to analyze the success of the new redistricting process.
“It’s hard to analyze for two reasons. One it’s not the end of the process and, two, no one knew about the process before (where politicians drew the district lines) unless you were in the Legislature. But I will say I think better districts were produced under that process than under this one.
“One disadvantage the commission had is that legislators know the districts. The commission made a lot of inadvertent mistakes, because they didn’t know the areas.”
Additionally, the collaborative member said that the CCRC process allowed a lot of racism, classism, and homophobia to come to the forefront.
“You see people openly saying that they don’t want to be in a district with Blacks, immigrants and gay people,” Harris-Dawson pointed out.
The city of Hawthorne, for example, has been grouped in congressional districts with portions of South Los Angeles, Athens and Compton instead of with the beach cities where some residents and officials want to be.
Hawthorne Mayor Larry Guidi said including his community with less desirable areas could “destroy the economic growth of the city.”
One Hawthorne citizen even confessed to having concern about her property value, if the commission put the municipality in a district with Compton and Watts.
The commission will vote on the final maps Friday and then wait 14 calendar days for additional public comments. After that point, they will certify the maps.
If CCRC cannot reach an agreement on the lines, the matter will go directly to the California State Supreme Court, where a three-judge panel will draw the lines.
Should there be a legal challenge to the maps, again the matter will go directly to the state supreme court for a resolution.
The Crenshaw Subway Coalition is gearing up for a possible showdown over additional funding for the Crenshaw-to-LAX light rail line, including a Leimert Park Village Station, but may have to await a May 23 decision by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board on just how bruising—or necessary—a showdown will be.
The process of redrawing the political lines for congressional, as well as the state assembly, senate and Board of Equalization districts is winding down, and the Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC) now awaits comments from the public on the final preliminary maps.
CRC will vote on the maps Aug. 15.
The African American Redistricting Collaborative will hold a meeting this evening from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the West Angeles Villas to discuss the maps, answer questions and provide direction on what comments residents should forward to the commission.
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.
For decades, residents of South Los Angeles have suffered from an over-concentration of stores that sell liquor. While many community-based organizations have sought to address the problem, few have been successful.
This history, however, did not discourage local resident Bruce Patton from fighting the attempt by Sonsonate Grill—a restaurant in close proximity to his home—to secure a liquor license that would allow them to sell a full line of alcoholic beverages.
In the last several weeks local law enforcement officials have been involved in altercations with three African American males that have resulted in two fatalities and another young man clinging to life in a local hospital.
The first incident, involved 43-year-old Inglewood resident, Reginald Andre Linthicum, who according to his family had just been paroled from state prison in June after more than 11 years.