LOS ANGELES—City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez called Oct. 28 for the state to take up legislation that would establish an independent redistricting process for Los Angeles before next April.
Rodriguez introduced a resolution Friday calling on the City Council to support legislation similar to Senate Bill 958—which in 2016 created a citizen’s redistricting commission for Los Angeles County independent from the influence of the county’s Board of Supervisors.
Elected officials across Los Angeles have called for changes in the redistricting process after three council members and a top county labor official took part in a 2021 recorded conversation that included racist comments and efforts to manipulate last year’s redistricting effort.
Council President Nury Martinez, Councilmen Gil Cedillo, and Kevin de León, and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera participated in the recorded conversation.
Martinez was heard on the recording making several disparaging remarks about a fellow councilor and other ethnic groups. She resigned Oct. 12 from the council following a massive public uproar that reached the White House.
Last week, the council voted to begin the process of placing a measure on the 2024 ballot or sooner that would create an independent redistricting commission.
Under the current redistricting process created in 1999, council members appoint representatives to a 21-member redistricting commission, which meets every 10 years to redraw council district boundaries. The panel’s recommended lines, however, are then submitted to the City Council, which makes the final determinations on the district boundaries.
The council is set to vote next week on an ordinance that would schedule a special election on April 4, 2023, to fill the seat of Martinez.
Rodriguez’s resolution calls for the state to use an emergency clause to “move forward expeditiously on a bill” similar to SB 958 for Los Angeles before the April 2023 special election.
“Among the revelations derived from the released audio clips was that our city’s redistricting process last year was manipulated and flawed,” Rodriguez said. “Without a truly independent redistricting process in place, self-preservation and power grabs will supersede long-fought equitable representation provided by the Voting Rights Act.”
“Trust is the most fundamental commodity in any relationship, and if we are to regain the trust of voters, state legislation that would enact a truly independent redistricting process, similar to that utilized by the County, is imperative,” she said.