Racist remarks in leaked audio could lead to redistricting changes in LA political maps

Carlos Granda Image
Saturday, October 15, 2022
Racist remarks could spell trouble for LA political maps
The effort by three Latino politicians to maximize their influence in Los Angeles backfired and could have broader legal and political consequences.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The redistricting process rarely gets much attention in Los Angeles.

But now that Nury Martínez, the former City Council president, and Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin De Leon were recorded talking about how to carve up districts, redistricting has taken center stage.

"We need to change how we do redistricting. I'm supportive and working with council members to make sure that gets done," said Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Every ten years the census brings changes to every district. The mayor and City Council appoint the members to an advisory citizens commission to make these changes. Unlike the state or the county, L.A. City Council members have the final vote for their districts. Rev. Eddie Anderson was on the 2021 redistricting committee for District 10. He says there was immense pressure.

"Some commissioners were replaced, because maybe they weren't doing what was needed to be done for their appointee."

He says after a year of work and producing what he felt was a fair map, it all changed.

Anger and frustration are growing as activists call for 2 LA City Council members to resign after they were recorded making racist comments.

"That was troubling in many ways, and then to see that once the maps were given to the city Council that there was another committee created, and they just did what they wanted to do anyway, despite all of our maps being drawn in public," says Anderson.

Gerrymandering, is the term for twisting electoral districts for political or economic power. The recording specifically mentioned Koreatown as an asset to split up and to keep away from other councilmembers.

Hyepin Im from Faith And Community Empowerment is a community activist. She says "The fact that they were carving up Koreatown really using it almost as a lapdog or a commodity to cut and give to whoever was their agenda was really repulsive, disappointing."

Acting City Council President Mitch O' Farrell said the issue needs to be taken up immediately. Protests delayed them doing that.

"One of the issues that we were to entertain on Wednesday is the whole independent redistricting issue calling for an independent redistricting commission moving forward," says O'Farrell.

Councilmembers will try to tackle the redistricting issue at its next meeting. As of now that's scheduled for Tuesday.