Constitutional Amendment would reorganize Los Angeles County districts

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A California constitutional amendment introduced last week would increase the number of district supervisors in Los Angeles County from five to seven.

Redefining county governing would give more weight to Santa Clarita’s representation, a redistricting expert said.

According to Alan Clayton, a redistricting consultant of 30 years, Senate Constitutional Amendment 12 would help Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s district, which includes Santa Clarita, and give their concerns more clout. It is the only Republican district in the county.

In the amendment, introduced by Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), the county executive position would be voted on by constituents instead of appointed by the board.

“If you’re going to have a strong county executive and seven members, if only three of those members work with the executive, they’ll have a lot of power,” Clayton said. “On economy of scale, this is huge.”

Three members who side with the county executive would have more significant input on prominent issues, according to Clayton.

“It’s fair the regional areas all getting a piece of the pie,” he said.

With redistricting, Santa Clarita, Lancaster and Palmdale could play a larger role alongside the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley because the areas all have similar concerns, such as traffic, roads and health, he said.

A professional map drawer, Clayton said Barger’s area would be drawn as the mountain district, which would benefit her from a regional and community interest standpoint.

As the districts are currently set up, Democrats have most power with four out of five Board of Supervisors seats. With seven supervisors, there would likely still be mostly democrats, but there would be more representation for Latinos, who could get two seats, and Asians, who could get one.

“It would change the way the board currently is in terms of demographics,” Clayton said.

For the amendment to pass, it would need a two-thirds majority. Clayton said this is not easy, but it’s possible with Mendoza’s nine co-authors on the bill.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger is currently in opposition of the amendment, her Communications Deputy Tony Bell said. L.A. County voters have opposed related bills in 1922, 1926, 1962, 1976, 1992 and 2000, according to Bell.

“The supervisor opposes this effort,” Bell said. “Voters in Los Angeles County have rejected similar issues six different times.”


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