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Nury Martinez’ Gang of Three Dissent

DEEGAN ON LA—-Cigars are being metaphorically passed out by City Council. 

Krekorian (CD2) and Nithya Raman (CD4)—and their allies get ready to settle into a back room at City Hall and carve up council districts to their liking, blowing a smoke screen across what, up to now, had been a clear and transparent redistricting process. 

The flame that will light the cigars is the authorizing Motion for an Ad Hoc Committee, on the council’s agenda for Tuesday, November 2. The motion was made by Martinez and seconded by both Krekorian and Raman. 

Martinez, if she has her way with the ad hoc committee, stands to get the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area—a sports complex that will be the home of some important venues for the 2028 Olympics—and Van Nuys Airport—a $2 billion economic engine for the Valley— into her district. Krekorian and Raman, by getting their way, would not have to get to know some new constituents. Krekorian is half way through his final term. In eighteen months, challengers will start lining up for his seat. Raman, who campaigned as “Nithya for the City” should not complain about gaining some new constituents and voters in the “city” if some of her district is relocated. 

When the redistricting map and report were sent to Council a few days ago, the announced next step was public hearings by the Rules and Elections committee, but Rules and Elections committee chair Nury Martinez “waived” those hearings, setting up the ad hoc committee that does not need to face, or hear from, the public. 

This is where the process goes dark and becomes “rigged”, unless Martinez waives privacy and orders the ad hoc committee to have pubic hearings with public comment. 

Voting against the final map and report were commissioners appointed by Paul Krekorian (CD2), Nithya Raman (CD4), Nury Martinez (CD6), Curren Price (CD9), Mitch O’Farrell (CD13), and Joe Buscaino (CD15). The bolded council members are up for reelection in 2022. Buscaino is running for Mayor. 

The twelve months of the just concluded civic participation  process was heavily driven by the public through their submission of draft maps, statements of community impacts by neighborhood councils, calls by the public for aligning communities of interest that would link neighborhoods, written testimony and public comment, many hours of commission discussion and debate that was carried live on Zoom. 

Martinez, Krekorian and Raman do not like the result because it does not serve their interests. 

Los Angeles has never seen an open redistricting process like this before, and now it’s in danger of being sent to its grave by what history may come to call a trio of political hacks serving their best interest over the public interest. 

The Final Map and Final Report of the LA City Council Redistricting Commission is in jeopardy of becoming a doormat upon which dissenting council members can wipe their feet. 

Both the Final Map and the Final Report received a 15-6 majority affirmative vote that the Martinez gang is now trying to dismiss. The commission’s final report also included a recommendation for increasing the size of the city council. 

Will Martinez, Krekorian, Raman, Price, O’Farrell and Busciano join a City Hall dishonor roll that includes recent council colleagues Mitch Englander, convicted of political corruption and now sitting in a Federal prison, Jose Huizar, indicted for political corruption and facing trial, and Mark Ridley-Thomas, also indicted for political corruption and facing trial? 

The malfeasance by Martinez is helping to set the stage for hungry, idealistic, young and progressive candidates to sweep into City Hall in the next two election cycles. The odd-numbered council seats are up for grabs in 2022, with the even-numbered seats are open game in 2024. 

Three years from now, Martinez and her gang could become a city hall minority, a community of interest that voters have lost interest in.

 

(Tim Deegan is a civic activist whose DEEGAN ON LA weekly column about city planning, new urbanism, the environment, and the homeless appears in CityWatch. Tim can be reached at [email protected].)