Wed, Aug

Valley Still Feeling Left Out

POLITICS - Now that Los Angeles County has wrapped up the first round in its redrawing of political boundaries, the redistricting battle shifts to the city, where issues ranging from Latino power to San Fernando Valley representation will dominate the debate.

Two of the questions officials will wrestle with are whether to create a sixth City Council district wholly in the Valley and, separately, a third Latino-dominated district in the Valley.

The Northeast Valley's 7th District already has the highest Latino population in the entire city, at 79.5 percent -- up from 73.7 percent a decade ago. But some experts say that the demographic growth over the last decade merits expanded representation, which would only take some slight reconfiguring of existing districts.

"It could be done," said Alan Clayton, an expert in reapportionment who has worked for the Los Angeles County Chicano Employees Association. "There has been growth among Latinos throughout the Valley and you could draw a clear line in the northern area to create a third district."

Given the controversy that ensued when Los Angeles County considered creating a second Latino supervisorial district, the city issue has the potential to be explosive. Some 1,300 people showed up at the Sept. 27 Board of Supervisors meeting to debate the issue; ultimately the board decided to only make minor shifts to the status quo, but Latino groups are expected to file lawsuits.

Still, other Valley activists say it doesn't matter as much to them whether the region gets another Latino City Council seat, as much as whether it gets another district overall.
Currently five of the 15 City Council districts are wholly within the Valley and two are shared with other parts of Los Angeles.

"We aren't interested if it is a Latino seat or some other group," said Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association. "What we believe is that the Valley needs another council district fully within the Valley and not shared with any other part of the city."  (The rest of Rick Orlov here)

(Rick Orlov covers City Hall for the dailynews.com.  His Tipoff column appears Mondays. For a daily political fix, go to the Sausage Factory at insidesocal.com/politics. You can contact him at [email protected] ) –cw

Tags: Valley, Los Angeles, Los Angeles redistricting, redistricting, Latino, Alan Clayton, City Council, Stuart Waldman, VICA, Richard Alarcon, Tom LaBonge, Paul Koretz

Vol 9 Issue 79
Pub: Oct 4, 2011