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.
“We feel like the general framework for preserving African American representation in the state of California is there; that’s the positive. However, there are still several problems with the map,” said Marqueece Harris-Dawson, president and CEO of the Community Coalition (CoCo), which is a collaborative member.
Among the problems Harris-Dawson identified are the exclusion of Vermont Knolls from the district that includes the LAX Airport.
“The ramifications of this are unclear, but Vermont Knolls has always been in the district with the airport. And when it comes time to negotiate with the FAA and other authorities around noise and pollution (caused by the airport), you have leverage as a resident and constituent with a member representing you in Congress. If you take that away, you have less leverage and less negotiating power,” said the CoCo president, who noted that South Los Angeles and Inglewood have some of the best pollution and noise mitigations in place nationwide. He thinks that might not continue, if everyone with that common interest is not in the same district.
In addition to Vermont Knolls, Harris-Dawson said the collaborative is concerned that the inclusion of some 100,000 Torrance residents in a district with Inglewood will change the inclination of that area from progressive to more conservative. That may not bode well for the election of candidates like Attorney General Kamala Harris.
“Torrance was one of the few cities where Kamala Harris did not win in the County of Los Angeles.
We look at this as really an assault on the progressive character of what used to be the 35th congressional district,” Harris-Dawson said.
The old 35th congressional district, which is now the new 43rd, is the most radically different among the districts in which African Americans have traditional won elections.