Urges involvement in the redistricting process

Eighth District Councilman Marqueese Harris-Dawson sent an email last week with the subject line “Redistricting is a Fight for South LA”:

Dear South LA,

The City Council has an opportunity to correct a redistricting error that has impacted the community for the last 10 years when Downtown LA and the majority of its assets were moved out of South Los Angeles to Council District 14, and the two largest assets in Council District 8, the University of Southern California and Exposition Park were transferred to Council District 9.  

In 2010, the only majority Black Council District (CD 8) was stripped of its two largest assets and stripped of almost half of its third-largest asset: 

1. University of Southern California (USC) – 266 acres                                                                         

2. Exposition Park – 160 acres                                 

3. Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza – 42 acres

None of its remaining economic assets come close in terms of size or economic activity. The only majority Black district in the City of Los Angeles has had no whole economic assets of significant size to leverage for public benefits.  

Whereas wealthier districts do not need to leverage their economic and development assets to get basic services such as street improvements, maintenance services, new facilities, and youth programming, historically disinvested and redlined districts rely on them. They are essential, and this lifeline was cut off for CD 8 in the last Redistricting.

The 8th District has historically been a core of Los Angeles’ Black community. Removing these vital assets from CD8 during the last redistricting resulted in a systemic economic disadvantage to our South LA community – an already economically fragile community.

Returning USC and Exposition Park to CD8 would still leave the 9th District with significant assets, such as the L.A. Convention Center, Staples Center, and LA Live – all vital economic assets that generate a substantial tax base for CD9. These areas are population neutral, and the boundaries of CD8 would only need to move slightly.

Council District 8 submitted a map to Councilmember Price’s office that keeps the Black community intact while building on the allied communities in Districts 8, 9, and 10. This map is drawn in a way that corrects the error that occurred a decade ago. 

Several proposals to allocate assets equitably have been rejected by Councilmember Price.

The next moment, November 23 is when the Council will listen to public comment and on December 1 the Council will consider the ordinance. That will be the time to demonstrate Black lives, Black enfranchisement and representation do matter and that we are genuinely ready to begin repairing the injustices of the past.

Please follow our social media (mhdcd8) to stay current on this process. You can also visit cityclerk.lacity.org/ to provide public comment, track the legislation and the amendments introduced.

The City Council needs to consider the outcomes that will be in effect for another 10 years before accepting the map as-is. Councilmember Price has been presented with a map that benefits everyone and allows us to ensure the sole Black voting rights district in the city is able to cultivate economic activity from a returned asset.

With hope, 

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

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