Krekorian: Council, Not State, Should Handle Redistricting Issue

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Responding to state lawmakers' passage of a bill that would require Los Angeles to create an independent redistricting commission, City Council President Paul Krekorian said Saturday that such reform would be better handled at the city level.

"I very much share the goal and intention of SB 52 to ensure fair and independent redistricting. Fortunately, the City Council is already poised to place a fully independent redistricting system before the voters of Los Angeles in November 2024," Krekorian said.

"I initiated this process, along with Councilmember Raman, long before the scandal of the recorded meeting that took place at the LA County Federation of Labor, and long before any state legislation was introduced to subvert our City Charter," he continued. "SB 52 would impose its mandates in 2029, but I am unwilling to wait another five years for action on fundamental reforms. Only Los Angeles voters, not politicians, must make these decisions, and thanks to the work of the City Council we will be giving them that opportunity next year as the State Constitution and the City Charter require."

Senate Bill 52, which was introduced by state Sen. María Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, would require cities with a population of at least 2.5 million people to establish an independent redistricting commission.

Los Angeles is the only city in California with at least 2.5 million people.

Another bill authored by Assemblyman Isaac Bryan, D-Los Angeles, would require large cities, counties and school districts to adopt independent redistricting commissions by 2030. The two bills are designed to work together, and have provisions to ensure that they do not overlap.

Both bills passed this week.

Under the current system, city council districts are drawn up by a panel whose members are appointed by the council, which then has the final say on those boundaries.

Council leaders are trying to change that by placing a more independent plan before voters. A City Council group has called for the creation of two independent redistricting commissions to draw boundaries for the City Council and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The Ad Hoc Committee on City Governance Reform will consider those proposals as it drafts recommendations for the full council, which are expected within days.

The committee was created by Krekorian in response to a leaked racist audio recording in October 2021, in which former Council members and a top county labor official discussed manipulating the redistricting process. The leak of that call led to the resignation of former Council President Nury Martinez.

Bryan welcomed the city's efforts.

"We really want this to be a grassroots effort and for local jurisdictions like Los Angeles to design for themselves an independent process through charter reform, or whatever reform is necessary in that locality," Bryan told the Los Angeles Times, describing his legislation as a set of "guardrails" aimed at pressuring local jurisdictions to reform their own systems.

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