Yaroslavsky not amused by proposed districts

County supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky finally had something to say about the newly drawn election districts submitted by colleagues Gloria Molina and Mark Ridley-Thomas. The re-maps both cannibalize Yaroslavsky's 3rd district to create a second Latino-dominant voting district. The exercise is "a bald-faced gerrymander that is completely unnecessary," according to Yaroslavsky.

As part of this process, two proposed maps (denoted as S2 and T1) were submitted this week that would radically redraw the Board of Supervisors’ district boundaries, leaving communities fragmented and an estimated 3.5 million people suddenly represented by a supervisor for whom they never cast a vote. Worse, some of these same people would be denied the right to vote for a supervisor for as long as six years because of the timing of elections.

The scope of the fallout would be vast and swift, potentially undermining the ability of communities to speak with one voice as advocates for their common interests. For example, the San Fernando Valley, which has fought hard to maintain its own identity, would be carved into three different districts. Hollywood and mid-Wilshire, meanwhile, could be included in a district with such distant cities as Lomita and Cerritos.

He goes on to say that since he's in his last term as a supervisor, he has "no personal political interest in the electoral composition of the districts." Also, he argues, the federal Voting Rights Act doesn't actually mandate the creation of a district where 50% of the voting-age citizenry is Latino or any other minority; it just requires equal opportunity. "Frankly, the notion that non-minorities won’t vote for a minority candidate in L.A. County is antiquated. Los Angeles in 2011 is not the same as the Los Angeles of forty, thirty or even twenty years ago." Yaroslavsky writes.

Also: D.J. Waldie on the flawed districts.

Post edited for clarity

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