LOS ANGELES (CNS) - City Council President Paul Krekorian Tuesday proposed a resolution calling for the council to oppose an effort in the state legislature to establish an independent redistricting commission in Los Angeles.
Senate Bill 52, introduced by state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, calls for an independent 24-member commission to be responsible for adjusting the district boundaries for the council.
The legislation, proposed in December, appears to run parallel to the city council's own efforts to reform its redistricting process following a leaked, racist conversation in which three council members discussed how they could manipulate the process. SB 52 is currently waiting to be heard by a committee.
Krekorian's draft resolution notes that the city has authority over its own affairs, including redistricting.
"Los Angeles voters, who intimately understand the diverse and unique nature of the city, deserve to decide the terms of their own redistricting process, and should not have that right overruled by the state legislature," the proposed resolution reads.
Even if SB 52 is passed, it is unclear whether it would immediately apply to the city of Los Angeles because the redistricting process is defined in the city charter -- which can only be amended via an election.
The council created an Ad Hoc Committee on City Governance Reform, chaired by Krekorian, that aims to create an independent redistricting commission among addressing other systemic reforms.
In October, 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.
In 2016, Senate Bill 958 created a citizen's redistricting commission for Los Angeles County independent from the influence of the county's Board of Supervisors.
At least one council member, Monica Rodriguez, previously voiced support for state legislation to address the city's redistricting process.
In October, Rodriguez introduced her own resolution calling 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 for the vacant Sixth District council seat.
"What was the root of that conversation was a manipulating of redistricting," Rodriguez told City News Service at the time. "I think it demonstrates our need to immediately act with urgency and I think the state legislature, while it has demonstrated its interest in intervening on many local policies, this would be one that would warrant their participation and action on an immediate basis."