- Written by Janet Denise Kelly
15 May 2012
DEAR MAYOR VILLARAIGOSA: I have lost confidence in the fair political process of Los Angeles. The LA Redistricting process and maps have proven to constituents of Council District 8 (CD 8 ) that political and economic injustices continue to persist in our City; and that our voices have been diminished to quiet whispers.
Our CD 8 community overwhelming opposed the LA Redistricting maps. Despite our vast opposition, the maps do not reflect the hundreds of public testimonies and over 250 signatures on petitions to keep CD 8 as it is – whole and intact. Unjustly, the LA Redistricting Commission and City Council decided to ignore our input and catapult us into distress.
There was no reason to slice and dice CD 8. It had no population to lose or gain; and it had a growing local economy coupled with job growth. All of which, our residents have been contributors by supporting these new developments and purchasing locally.
The maps redline CD 8 from economic assets and engines – making us a poverty pocket with one of the lowest area median incomes in the City. As you and I know, money is influence. Without a competitive area median income, CD 8 will have a difficult time attracting more businesses in a dense residential district because economic data may indicate we are not a good market.
The approved maps take away CD 8’s return on investment in the USC and Marlton Square areas. Stripping us from these economic opportunities is akin to stealing from an investor portfolio and not paying dividends on an appreciating investment. We are the largest market base for these two areas.
We won’t have the ability to see our dollars recycle back into our community because the new maps redistribute money out of our district. Essentially, we won’t reap any of the benefits of the improvements we originally initiated.
I think about the feelings of disenfranchisement and the disappointment that CD 8 members like me share. The 13-2 vote to approve the maps clearly demonstrates the ongoing mistreatment and disrespect of South LA constituents. Furthermore, the unfairness of redistricting and alleged political dealings make me wonder if we are part of a conspiracy theory to keep us socially and economically challenged.
Mayor, please don’t be a guillotine and decapitate CD 8! Our community can’t be dealt another blow and loss by taking away our valuable community assets.
When I voted for you back in 2005, I believed you were going to be a great Mayor and change agent our City needed to mend regional disparity and to help build a better South Los Angeles. That was your campaign promise. And, I still hold the same sentiments about you today.
Back then you had a quote that resonated with me that I would like to remind you of, “What good is having power, if you can’t use it to help lift up the poor?” I’d like to replace “poor” with South LA and CD 8. “What good is power, if you can’t use it to help lift up South LA and CD8?”
I strongly urge you to have the political courage to veto the redistricting maps. You have the power to do it because our 10-year destiny is in your hands.
Janet Denise Kelly (Concerned CD 8 Resident Opposed to LA Redistricting Maps)
Tags: Janet Denise Kelly, Urban Perspective, Open Letter to Mayor, CD 8, Los Angeles Redistricting
Vol 10 Issue 39
Pub: May 15, 2012