Editorial: Why L.A. needs independent redistricting commission
There is a way to look at LA’s redistricting process that will shed some necessary light on one of our most important voting systems.
In 2008, I went to work for the Los Angeles Council of Governments as an assistant to the president for Community and Governmental Relations.
The staff of this agency, and the Council of Governments in general, are very active in redistricting.
Our agency does it for two reasons: to help the City with an annual budget problem and to comply with federal and state laws regarding elections.
As a result of redistricting, the size of the City’s government has doubled because its population has doubled.
We have been doing the work for eight years, and during that time we have noticed some things.
One is the growing difficulty of drawing electoral districts.
In 2007, we found our staff of 11 staff members and 14 staff members were spending a lot of time doing research and data collection. It is a big job.
So we put together a Community Technology Working Group.
We learned that a few districts were using complicated and inefficient techniques to draw their districts and we made changes to make that less common.
The work was a little bit controversial. People thought we were pushing people too far and did some pushback. But, what we did is make the process easier for people to follow and make sure we had the information we needed to do it right.
After the meetings, we got together a new version of the redistricting process document that is easier to follow.
I went back to work and started designing district maps.
I did a lot of research, and I found that what had been a complex problem was simplified and that the solution was more straightforward and simple.
We are now able to get the staff involved when they come by to draw new districts. As a result more people are involved in the process,