The Los Angeles County Citizens Redistricting Commission approved a final map with new supervisorial district boundaries on Dec. 15, making major changes to the 3rd District, currently represented by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.
The changes placed the Miracle Mile and most neighborhoods south of Beverly Boulevard, between Beverly Hills and the Westlake District, in the 2nd District, represented by Supervisor Holly Mitchell. Previously, the 2nd District’s northern boundary primarily ran along the south side of Wilshire Boulevard.
The commission also altered the 3rd District’s northern boundary in Hollywood, placing areas north of Franklin Avenue in the 5th District, represented by Supervisor Kathryn Barger. To balance the population in the 3rd and 5th districts, the 3rd District was extended north in the San Fernando Valley to include Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, Granada Hills and Sylmar.
The 3rd District still includes the coastal areas from Santa Monica to the Ventura County border, as well as most of Hollywood and the entire cities of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.
The commission removed county cultural assets from the 3rd District, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, which are now in the 2nd District, as well as the Hollywood Bowl and John Anson Ford Theatres, which are in the 5th District. On Dec. 12, three days prior to the final map being adopted, the commission approved the changes to the areas in the San Fernando Valley, placing the Hollywood Bowl and Ford Theatres in the 5th District. Kuehl claimed those changes should have been further vetted per the commission’s rules on transparency.
“I’m deeply disappointed by the redistricting process for a number of reasons, including the last minute violation of their own transparency rules, and the transfer of several cultural institutions with longstanding relationships with the 3rd District,” Kuehl said in a statement. “It’s hard for me to fathom what sense it makes to separate the Hollywood Bowl from Hollywood, or disrupt the board relationship with LACMA in the midst of a significant renovation.”
Former Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who represented the 3rd District from 1994-2014, was particularly critical of the changes to the area around the Hollywood Bowl and Ford Theatres. He surmised that changes in the San Fernando Valley may have been politically motivated to make it easier for unnamed prospective candidates in the area to run for office in the future.
“I am extremely disappointed and perplexed about what they did as it relates to the 3rd District,” Yaroslavsky said. “My main beef is with what they did in the Valley. There was no good reason to have done this.”
The redistricting process occurs every 10 years and uses U.S. Census data to ensure the populations of each district have equal representation. Under state law, the process is conducted by a citizens commission, and incumbent government representatives are prohibited from participating. The goal is to remove political influence from the redistricting process. The redistricting commission’s changes went into effect immediately after they were finalized on Dec. 15 and cannot be changed under state law.
In Los Angeles County, the redistricting commission was composed of 14 members. Approximately 750 members of the public applied for the commission in 2020, and the Los Angeles County Auditor-Controller randomly drew the names of the first eight commissioners, including one from each district and three from the remaining pool. The first eight commissioners evaluated and narrowed the pool of the remaining 52 qualified applications from Dec. 14-28, 2020, and approved the additional six members.
Los Angeles County Citizens Redistricting Commission co-chair Daniel Mayeda and commission executive director Gayla Kraetsch Hartsough disputed assertions that the changes to the 3rd District were made at the last minute without transparency, or were made based on political motivations. Hartsough said preliminary maps that moved LACMA and the La Brea Tar Pits from the 3rd District to the 2nd District had been considered for two months before the boundaries were finalized.
“[The commission] put LACMA on the table. We held four public meetings and four or five special meetings. No one came out and said anything different about LACMA being part of District Two,” Hartsough said. “Only in the end did people realize suddenly it was on the table and came out after the maps were finalized.”
Hartsough added that the changes were based on public input and an interest in placing communities with commonalities together. As an example, she said there was significant public interest in placing Jewish communities south of Beverly Boulevard in the same district, and they were included in the 2nd District.
Mayeda explained that changes to the northern portion of the 3rd District, including placing the Hollywood Bowl and Ford Theatres in the 5th District, were made to bring studios and entertainment assets together in what he called a “media corridor.” Under the new map, Studio City, Universal City and Burbank, where many studios are located, are grouped together.
Mayeda added that it was necessary to add areas of the northern San Fernando Valley to the 3rd District to balance population figures that changed when the 5th District was altered around Universal City and the northern neighborhoods of Hollywood. Mayeda also defended the process of making the change, stating that previous maps considered included the changes that occurred around the Hollywood Bowl.
“I recounted the dates when various things were in play, and it was clear that these were discussed in an open setting. Everything done was transparent,” Mayeda said. “You cannot complete this process without drawing criticism from people who want to be in one area or another. That’s not our job. Our job is to draw a map that will last for the next 10 years. It’s a violation of the law to consider incumbents or political parties, or where people live who might want to run for a particular district in coming years. Those are things we never considered.”
Kuehl, who has represented the 3rd District since 2014, is not running for reelection to a third four-year term. Two of the locally based candidates running to succeed her spoke positively about the redistricting.
“This independent commission took public comment from thousands of individuals across L.A. County, and while no process is perfect, I am excited to campaign in every corner of this district,” candidate Lindsey Horvath, a West Hollywood City Council member, said. “Getting critical services to our unhoused residents is paramount, along with ensuring our neighborhoods feel safe and secure every day. And while we’re working to accomplish these ambitious goals, I’ll ensure every tax dollar allocated to the county is held to the highest standard of transparency and accountability.”
“I am deeply grateful for the hard work the independent commission put into this process; dividing all of Los Angeles County into just five districts is an incredibly challenging task, but with a great deal of public input and careful deliberation, I believe they succeeded,” added candidate and Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica). “The 3rd District has been my home for most of my life, and includes a multitude of unique communities that represent so much of the rich tapestry that is Los Angeles. While L.A. County faces huge challenges, I know that I can help provide a voice to every part of District Three, and I look forward to the campaign ahead.”
The day after the commission finalized its maps, state Sen. Henry Stern (D-San Fernando Valley), announced his candidacy for 3rd District county supervisor.
“For the last six years, as state senator, I’ve been trying to help our communities through these crises, but I can’t do enough from Sacramento. Government isn’t working on the ground in L.A., and people are rightly fed up,” Stern said. “County government’s basic responsibility is to ensure the security of its citizens. So if we’re going to fix these problems in L.A., we can’t try to convince people that everything’s fine. It’s time to take responsibility and bring forward brave solutions.”
Representatives of LACMA expressed optimism about the new district boundaries.
“We’re extremely grateful for the extraordinary support and care District Three has given LACMA over many years, allowing us to be a resource for all of Los Angeles County,” LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director Michael Govan said. “With our new building and our bridge over Wilshire Boulevard, we were already in District Two. Our Charles White Elementary School branch is in District One and we have educational programs in every district. We look forward to continuing to serve all of Los Angeles County and developing an even closer relationship with District Two to serve everyone.”
Other incumbent supervisors added that they were content with the outcome of the redistricting process.
“I appreciate the members of the public who stepped up and volunteered to serve on the commission and to those who participated in this exercise in democracy by adding their voice to the redistricting process,” said Mitchell, 2nd District, the current chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. “I’m focused on providing continuity in public service and meeting the diverse needs of my constituents. While their county representation may have changed, cities, communities and residents will not experience disruption in services and resources. The board of supervisors will be working together to familiarize the residents of Los Angeles County with their new representatives.”
“I also wholeheartedly welcome the opportunity to represent and get to know the communities newly added to the 5th District,” Barger said. “I want those residents to know that I will represent their needs and interests with integrity and equity. I’m here for them.”
Kuehl also reassured residents of the 3rd District that they will be well represented.
“I warmly welcome those who are about to become residents of the county’s 3rd District, and will continue to proudly represent all the constituents in the 3rd,” Kuehl said. “Supervisors Barger, Mitchell and myself will work together to manage a seamless transition of constituent services.”
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Leave a Reply