Following a special meeting earlier this week, the Los Angeles County Citizens Redistricting Commission has announced that it is ready to move forward Wednesday with a vote on whether to formally adopt a final map for the county’s Board of Supervisor districts.
The creation of the new map follows the release of the 2020 U.S. Census data and for the first time in the county’s history — due to the passage of California Senate Bill 958 in 2016 — was drawn by an independent citizen commission, known as the L.A. Citizens Redistricting Committee.
Before SB 958, the Board of Supervisors would appoint an advisory Boundary Redistricting Committee, as well as be given the opportunity to make final revisions to the map before formally adopting it.
However, if approved during the commission’s special meeting, the CRC’s map will independently determine the boundaries for the five supervisorial districts for the next decade, and Los Angeles County is required to assemble such an independent commission following each future Federal Decennial Census.
Officials said that while they have provided the data breaking down each district’s demographics, including age, race and citizenship rates, the commission was required to draw the boundaries in compliance with the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, with each district being “reasonably equal” in total population to one another.
“Redistricting is about balance,” said county Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose 5th District includes the Santa Clarita Valley, in a statement sent to The Signal on Tuesday. “In a county as big as ours, with over 10 million residents, the redistricting process is important because we’ve had a lot of growth and change in the last decade.”
In addition to making the districts roughly equal in population, the boundaries had to be drawn so that they were geographically contiguous, minimized the geographic division of cities, neighborhoods and/or communities, and did not favor or discriminate against an incumbent, political candidate, or political party.
For this latest effort, the CRC said it tried to keep the populations of each of the five districts as close to 2,002,802 people each, with a maximum deviation of 10% from that average, or roughly 200,280 people.
After speaking with residents, community stakeholders and drafting four possible map options in October, the CRC ultimately decided to move forward with the option that lists the 5th District as being the furthest from the deviation with a total population of 1,896,455 people. The 1st District was 1.35% under the deviation with a total population of 1,982,511, District 2 with 2,023,783 (.71% over), the 3rd District has 2,061,345 people (2.58% over) and the 4th District has 2,083,832 people (3.69% over).
For the 5th District, the final map removes a handful of communities Barger has previously represented, including a portion of the northwest San Fernando Valley communities (Porter Ranch, Granada Hills, Chatsworth and Canoga Park), and two communities from the San Gabriel Valley (Alhambra and San Gabriel).
However, the map also adds several communities from the San Fernando Valley area (including Universal City, Toluca Lake, North Hollywood, Valley Village, Studio City), adds portions of the Hollywood Hills and Los Feliz, and adds a community in the Eastern San Gabriel Valley (Claremont).
“I’m glad that I’ll continue to represent the northern portions of the county as well as the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valley foothill communities,” Barger said. “These areas have a shared commitment to environmental priorities and I will continue to champion their equitable access to county resources and services.”
“I’m disappointed that the proposed redistricting map removed the northwest San Fernando Valley communities from my district, despite strong public support,” she added. “But I welcome the opportunity to represent and get to know the communities newly added to the 5th District. I want those residents to know that I will represent their needs and interests with integrity and equity – I’m here for them.”
The special meeting for the Los Angeles County Redistricting Commission is scheduled to be held virtually and begin at 5 p.m. To learn more on how to participate and/or listen in, visit bit.ly/3p3LL05.