Redistricting: Moving Past Racial Politics and Partisanship
2011-08-12 · By Los Angeles Supervisor Don Knabe
Dear Fourth District Residents,
This week, the Board of Supervisors began its review of the Plan A2 Redistricting Map, which was approved by the Boundary Review Committee. Let me start by saying: Wow! I want to thank all of you who took the time to come downtown to testify. I know it was a long day for many of you.
As we have been discussing and was certainly evident on Tuesday, the Fourth District is the most vulnerable to dramatic changes. Under another alternative discussed, over 1 million residents would be shifted into or out of our district. As many of you said, that will destroy the connections and relationships we have built over decades.
Some of the discussion and news coverage have turned redistricting into a racial divide. But they are getting the story wrong; it’s not about race. The Fourth District is the most diverse in the County, with Whites, Latinos, Asian-Americans, African-Americans and many other minority groups. Under the plan I submitted on Tuesday, Latinos represent the largest population at 43% of our district. I have always welcomed diversity in our district and loved getting to know the many cultures we have in our communities. My staff and I have worked hard to gain your trust, learn your issues and be as responsive as we can be.
While I really appreciate the very kind words that were said at the hearing, it’s also not about me. It’s about you and your neighborhoods, communities and cities. You’ve been loud and clear that you do not want to be moved, and I agree with you. I can’t support splitting up longstanding communities of interest just because some lawyers say we might get sued.
In fact, the County’s independent legal counsel has determined that Plan A2 clearly meets the County’s obligations under the Voting Rights Act. As such, any dramatic changes are unnecessary and undeserved. We’ve heard a clear message from all of you that have come down and testified and written nearly 1500 letters that you don’t want to be needlessly reassigned to different districts. We should respect those wishes and side with the people of Los Angeles County.
Our next review meeting is September 6th. It is my hope that we will move past the racial politics and partisanship and focus on what you elected us to do: solve problems and help those in need.
As always, thank you so much for your support!
Los Angeles County Supervisor, 4th District