Two Los Angeles County supervisors have submitted their own proposed maps to redraw supervisorial district lines in the county.
Supervisors Gloria Molina and Mark Ridley-Thomas both submitted a proposal before Tuesday's deadline and both of their maps would create a second Latino-majority district.
The 10-member Boundary Review Committee, which consists of two representatives appointed by each of the five supervisors, voted 6-4 last week to recommend A2, which mostly maintains existing district populations. Supervisor Don Knabe, whose district includes Marina del Rey, has amended the map recommended by the county's Boundary Review Committe and it is now known as A3.
Both Molina’s and Ridley-Thomas’ proposals were submitted before a 5 p.m. deadline Tuesday for consideration. The supervisors have scheduled a Sept. 6 public hearing to conclude the hearing on A-2 and will hold a second public hearing in which other maps could be considered Sept. 27.
The county is required to redraw district boundaries once every 10 years to address population changes measured by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The federal count last year found that Latinos make up 48 percent of the county population—in 2000 they made up 45 percent. In , dozens of speakers voted in favor of the status quo plan and championed Knabe's efforts, while others warned the county that it would face lawsuits if a second Latino-majority district wasn't created.
Molina said in a statement Tuesday that her map and even Ridley-Thomas’ proposal "simply follow the numbers."
"By doing so, our new maps honor both the letter and the spirit of the Voting Rights Act, which outlaws voting discrimination based on race and serves as the legal foundation of our modern civil rights movement," she said.
Molina submitted a plan that "presents a different way to achieve" that objective, she said. The plan would:
- group the San Gabriel Valley in the First District;
- the Third District would include the San Fernando Valley basin into downtown Los Angeles and unincorporated East Los Angeles;
- and the Beach Cities would remain in the Fourth District, which would stretch from Long Beach to Malibu as well as include hillside communities in the southern San Fernando Valley.
Molina's proposal, called the "Voting Rights Compliance Map," is similar to Ridley-Thomas', known as S1, as it creates two Latino districts and leaves the Second and Fifth districts mostly unchanged.
"Either map is far preferable to the [Boundary Review Committee-recommended] map currently supported by a majority of my colleagues, which packs the largest concentration of Latinos into one district, then divides the rest into the other four districts," Molina said.
Ridley-Thomas' S1 map moves about 3.5 million voters from one district to another, shifting the South Bay and Long Beach to Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s Third District and remapping Molina’s First District to include parts of the San Fernando Valley.
The plan would change the Fourth District to a Latino-vote majority of 52 percent. Under the plan Knabe submitted last week, Latinos would still represent the largest population of the Fourth District, but at 43 percent.
"I have maintained from the start of the redistricting process that our top priority as a board must be to adhere to the federal Voting Rights Act requirements," Ridley-Thomas said. "These requirements were not created abstractly to promote the political dominance of one interest group at the expense of other groups, but to serve all voters fairly."
But under Molina’s map, the Fourth District would keep the South Bay and instead a second Latino-opportunity district would form in the Third District.
"That the maps submitted... result in the creation of Latino-opportunity voting districts is purely a consequence of our commitment to abide by the civil rights laws that have undergirded our democracy," Ridley-Thomas said.
Knabe said in a statement last week that some of the public discussion and media coverage of the county’s redistricting has become racially charged and "it's not about race."
"The county’s independent legal counsel has determined that Plan A2 clearly meets the county’s obligations under the Voting Rights Act. As such, any dramatic changes are unnecessary and undeserved," he said.
Knabe added that nearly 1,500 letters have been written by residents claiming that they "don't want to be needlessly reassigned to different districts.
"Our next review meeting is Sept. 6. It is my hope that we will move past the racial politics and partisanship and focus on what you elected us to do: solve problems and help those in need," Knabe said.
Supervisor Mike Antonovich, the board's senior member, having served since 1980, said he has "always supported districts that respect geographic boundaries and do not gerrymander communities of interest.
"Many factors should be considered in determining a community of interest and having three plans will afford an opportunity for the public to comment on a variety of configurations of the supervisorial districts," he said.
Four supervisorial votes are needed to approve any proposed plan.