The Los Angeles redistricting process is nearing a close and councilwoman Jan Perry, who oversees portions of Downtown and South L.A., is protesting her district's new boundaries through every step of the process. Perry, along with her neighboring councilman Bernard Parks of District 8, submitted a formal letter to the council on Wednesday requesting the vote on the new map be postponed.
They cited multiple reasons for the delay, primarily pointing to the fact that changes to the boundaries had been made since the original vote. After the map was preliminarily approved on March 16, the city attorney and city engineer made adjustments to reflect the amendments passed by the council and population requirements, said Eva Kandarpa Behrend, communications director for Perry. She added that the two councilmembers only wanted more time to analyze the adjusted map, and to voice their concerns on the record.
Despite the letter, L.A. City Council went ahead and voted on the redistricting map this morning, with all but Perry and Parks' support.
"I wasn't surprised," said Perry. "They rolled through this whole process without hesitation or serious regard for community input."
Since the map wasn't passed unanimously, it will return to the council floor next week where it only needs a 2/3 vote to pass. If it is approved, it'll be sent to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for final approval.
"Ideally, it would be tremendous if the mayor vetoed the map," said Perry. She added that even though the redistricting process has taken months, there have been no drastic changes made to the district boundaries that reflect her concerns.
"They are essentially unchanged," the councilwoman said, "and the southern part of Los Angeles has been disconnected from downtown Los Angeles." She went on to say that these new districts will have a significant impact on the future development of South L.A. as a whole.
Perry has maintained this position for months and told Blogdowntown in January that separating her Downtown area from South L.A. would sever historic ties, hinder coalition-building and "strip assets" from the two areas that have worked together for years. She also said the losing these assets would create an "economic apartheid" where there was previously enormous growth, Perry said.
The redistricting process occurs every 10 years in order to re-draw district boundaries according to population shifts. Perry told OnCentral earlier this year that the entire process has been a disaster.
"It leaves the people of South L.A. behind," she said. "And that's a frightening concept, because it has been very difficult for the last 10 years to bring commercial and retail development into South L.A."
Perry has represented District 9 since 2001 and will reach her term limit next year. She won't be out of the L.A. political limelight yet though, as she's launched a campaign for mayor.