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County to Choose From Three Redistricting Plans

As a deadline for new proposed Board of Supervisor electoral boundaries passes, supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas, Gloria Molina, and Don Knabe all released new plans for how to draw the county's electoral boundaries for the next 10 years.

Three new proposals for how to draw new electoral boundaries for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors were released on Tuesday just before a deadline for submissions.

As the deadline has now passed, the Board will ultimately have to choose from one of the three new plans, all of which bear at least some similarities to the two major plans being previously discussed.

Whether any of the plans can get the required support of four out of the five county supervisors remains to be seen: the supervisors own handpicked Boundary Review Committee (BRC) split bitterly over the two plans with one plan receiving 6 out of 10 votes, and the other receiving 4 out of 10. 

The issue over how to divide the boundaries has come down to a question of how many districts will contain a Latino voting-age majority: Latino groups say the plan that the BRC's approved plan is a violation of federal law because it pushes the county's Latino population mainly into one district.

Supporters of the committee plan have argued that the alternative plan moves too many county voters to new districts (around 3 million would be moved) and unnecessarily splits communities accustomed to being in one district together.

If the Board of Supervisors cannot agree on one of the three plans, a committee made up of representatives of the county  Assesor's Office, and District Attorney's office will be responsible for coming up with a plan.

If the county is able to agree on any of the three plans, Altadena will remain in the 5th District under Supervisor Michael Antonovich.

Getting precise information on which communities will be moved and what the ethnic make-up of each district will be is difficult currently, as county officials have not yet done a full analysis of each plan.

However, below are some relevant details from the three plans the county could chose from.  The full plans can be viewed at right.

  • Gloria Molina's plan - Molina, a supporter of having multiple Latino-majority districts, has issued a plan which like previous ones, would have three districts where Latinos would constitute a majority among the voting-age population.  However, the plans makes some significant changes that keeps many of the South Bay cities in a district together under their current incumbent Don Knabe.  Representatives of those cities had been among the most vocal opponents of the Latino-majority plan as it would move them out of Knabe's district.  Roxane Marquez, a spokeswoman for Molina, said that appeasing those cities was not the intent of the plan.  The plan would also drastically change Molina's district (the 1st District) by moving it out towards the South San Gabriel Valley, and would turn the 3rd District from a coastal district to an inland one.
  • Mark Ridley-Thomas' plan - The plan proposed by Ridley-Thomas is similar to Molina's in that many of the same towns would be together, but like the alternative 'S1' plan considered and rejected by the Boundary Review Committee, it would have Knabe represent the south San Gabriel Valley, rather than Molina.  The coastal district would be the 3rd District, represented by Zev Yaroslavsky.  It would also spread out the Latino population as Molina's plan would.  Marquez said that Molina and Ridley-Thomas are committed to supporting each other's plans if they believe they can get either one through.
  • Don Knabe's plan - Knabe's plan is very similar to the one approved by the BRC in that it would maintain electoral boundaries very close to the existing ones and would only relocate about 200,000 people from their existing districts.

Lori Glasgow, the planning and redistricting deputy for Altadena's representative, Michael Antonovich, said the Supervisor has not ruled out voting any particular plan, though she said he would want to avoid a "gerrymander" and would want to minimize community disruption, all signs his preference would be to support Knabe's plan.

During the Boundary Review Committee proceedings, appointees of Antonovich, Knabe, and Zev Yaroslavsky all voted for a similar plan to Knabe's current, while those appointed by Ridley-Thomas and Molina dissented.

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