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L.A. City Council Plays the Citizen Shuffle

June 05, 2002

In "It's Not About Downtown" (editorial, June 2) you wrote of the need to adhere to the redistricting commission's recommendations of proposed City Council boundaries. Although I agree that the commission was a hard-working volunteer group, I do not believe its role usurps the rights or responsibilities that elected city leaders have to their constituencies in this matter.

By not challenging the boundaries set by the commission, the 8th Council District could be severely harmed. This is no small matter and not merely political squabbling. The lives and destiny of our community would be decimated by the commission's boundary proposal, which takes away First AME Church, Trinity Baptist Church, Baldwin Hills Shopping Center and other resources and aligns them with an area that has no particular ties to the established communities of interest. I will not abdicate my responsibility on this issue and have every right to fight to make sure my constituents are protected.

Mark Ridley-Thomas

Los Angeles City Council

*

Having attended many of the public redistricting hearings and written every member of the commission, I can safely say that "kowtowing to politicians' interests" is very much alive and well in our fair city. Public comments have been largely ignored; ask the folks who will be disenfranchised with the move of the 6th Council District to the Valley.

The new coastal district is anything but a community of interest. How many Brentwood and Pacific Palisades residents are concerned about LAX expansion and Playa Vista? Based on the public comments I've heard, none!

"Divide and conquer" and "show me the money" should be etched in the stone of City Hall.

Michele Levin

Westchester

*

I always thought I knew the difference between Venice and the Valley, but now I'm confused. The City Council is moving my Venice 6th Council District to the East Valley. They're arguing about whether my Venice council member should start driving there in July or December. Meanwhile, I get to vote in November on whether the Valley should be a separate city. If Councilwoman Ruth Galanter moves from the Westside in July and secession passes in November, can The Times help me find out exactly who represents Venice in December? The answer could certainly help determine how I vote.

Carolyn Widener

Venice

*

The self-centered political powers of L.A. are playing Monopoly with their constituents--the same constituents who voted for them during their previous election campaigns. But now they want to dump some of these households to pick up more lucrative geography that may just possibly give them more clout and visibility for future political gain. A suggestion might be to have this so-called redistricting coincide with the next election in that particular area so that the voters have more of an input as to who they actually would want representing them. The political leaders of this city are always perplexed at why voter turnout drops year after year. They need to look no further than this current redistricting squabble.

Richard Whorton

Valley Village

*

Re Councilwoman Galanter's May 30 commentary: To deny the Valley the new district for a year would be a disaster for L.A. and the Latino vote. If the City Council is looking toward keeping the city together, it should think twice before alienating the voters in the Valley. After attending all of the Valley redistricting meetings and those downtown and having watched the two Latino coalitions at work, I'm of the opinion that you might as well wave a red flag in front of a bull. I'm sure Galanter would do her best to get the new Valley district off to a great start.

It makes you wonder if some of the council members who are nearing the end of their careers under term limits are not actually pushing for splitting up the city so that they can run for a seat on the San Fernando Valley city council.

Lloyd Hitt

Sunland

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