For Immediate Release: October 18, 2022

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LOS ANGELES — Today, the Los Angeles City Council adopted a motion introduced by Councilmembers Nithya Raman and Paul Krekorian in December 2021, instructing the Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA) to submit a report within 90 days with recommendations to amend the City Charter to create an Independent Redistricting Commission for the City of Los Angeles. The motion, as amended during today’s meeting, calls for options for a ballot measure to be prepared for an election in 2024, or sooner, to update the City Charter to create Independent Redistricting Commissions for both the City and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The redistricting process for Los Angeles last underwent review over two decades ago during the charter reform of 1999. The resulting process created a redistricting commission deeply intertwined with the City’s governing body, in which Commissioners are selected by the City’s elected officials—including the members of the City Council whose districts are to be redrawn—and who may be lobbied and replaced at will by the very people who appointed them. Following the leaked recordings that emerged from a private meeting between three sitting councilmembers discussing the 2021 redistricting process, this type of explicit lobbying and intervention has now been made public. 

“I introduced this motion last year, following my district’s experience during the redistricting process,” said Councilmember Raman. “What came out of the recordings that we heard last week, in addition to the abhorrent racism and homophobia, was clear evidence that our City’s redistricting process was manipulated for personal political gain. These recordings were explicit: it was the intent of council leadership to reduce the voting power of renters -– at a time when renters in the City were in their most vulnerable moment due to COVID. The rights, the voice, and the power of renters — including Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian, South Asian renters — were cynically ‘put in the blender and chopped up.’”

Councilmember Raman further emphasized, “Trust in the city has been broken by these recent events. Moving forward with an Independent Redistricting Commission in the City Charter can move us at least one step closer to restoring Angelenos’ confidence in their City.”

“The current so-called ‘independent’ redistricting commission process is anything but independent.  It presents the worst of all options — it has no independence and also no accountability,” said Councilmember Paul Krekorian.  “Despite the effort of many of the commissioners to maintain a fair process, the commission was hijacked by those who sought political advantage for certain incumbents by pitting races against each other. We introduced this motion over a year ago to take the drawing of electoral districts out of the hands of elected officials. This city should do as the State of California, the County of Los Angeles, and many other cities in our state have already done and create a truly independent citizens redistricting commission.”

Raman’s motion requests the CLA report to provide an analysis of the structure and performance of the independent redistricting commissions in place at the State of California, the County of Los Angeles, and other California jurisdictions, as well as best practices to ensure transparency and public participation. Among other items, the report is required to provide a comprehensive list of conflicts of interest that would preclude participation on the redistricting commission including individuals who have worked for a locally elected political or local candidate’s campaign or who have been registered as a lobbyist with the City, County, State, or Federal governments. This information will all be utilized to formulate a ballot measure.