Rushing to meet a court-imposed deadline of Wednesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is leaning toward approving a redistricting plan that would force liberal Supervisor Ed Edelman to run for reelection in a new, heavily Latino district, sources said Monday.
Under the plan, a new Latino district would bear the designation of Edelman's 3rd District and would stretch from El Sereno and Lincoln Heights through downtown Los Angeles east to El Monte and San Gabriel and southeast to Montebello and Pico Rivera, the sources said. Edelman's West Los Angeles home is linked to the new district by a finger of land.
The plan is close to winning approval of the board's three-man conservative majority, said sources close to the board. Supervisors are scheduled to vote today behind closed doors on the redistricting proposals.
An aide to Edelman said Monday the supervisor would have no comment.
A federal judge earlier this month ruled that the five Anglo supervisors intentionally discriminated against Latinos in drawing their district boundaries in 1981. He gave the supervisors until 3 p.m. Wednesday to draft a new plan that would enhance the chances of the first Latino being elected to the powerful board.
The remapping proposal under consideration by the board, sources said, would add some of Edelman's liberal Westside district to conservative Supervisor Deane Dana's coastal district, which also would take in a small portion of the San Fernando Valley for the first time. Conservative Supervisor Mike Antonovich also would pick up a large part of the east San Fernando Valley from Edelman.
County Counsel DeWitt Clinton, meanwhile, privately recommended to supervisors Monday that they consider expanding the board from five to seven seats "as an alternate to be considered by the court only if a five-district plan is rejected."
In a confidential memo, Clinton said, "If the court finds invalid a five-district plan submitted by the board, there is no requirement that the court give the board the time or opportunity to present an alternate plan. In such a case, the court may impose its own or one of the plaintiffs' plans which places two incumbents in the same district."
U.S. District Judge David V. Kenyon has scheduled a hearing July 2 to decide whether the new political map is acceptable. If it is not, Kenyon has said he will redraw supervisorial district boundaries himself.
The plaintiffs--the U.S. Justice Department, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union--have until the July 2 hearing to respond to the county's proposal.