A small crowd of about 40 people gathered on Dec. 15 at the Iman Cultural Center in Palms to give their input on how the new Los Angeles City Council District lines should be drawn. The meeting served as a special hearing before members of the city commission tasked with updating district maps.
"The concept is to hear about how [residents and other stakeholders] define their community," said Rob Kadota, the appointee to the commission from Council District 11 and a vice chair of the commission as a whole.
Kadota, a Mar Vista resident, led the meeting before seven of the 21 commissioners who will be looking at a variety of criteria for redistricting. Some of that criteria includes local boundaries already in place and communities of interest. Communities of interest are communities where people with common interests are grouped together.
Redistricting is required by the city charter every 10 years to reflect population shifts uncovered by the regular U.S. Census.
Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl stopped by the meeting to address the audience and commissioners. He requested that his district, CD 11, be kept together.
"What I like about my district is that it's contiguous," he said.
The other theme of the evening was a request by Palms residents to put all of their neighborhood into one council district. Palms currently rests in three districts, CD 11, 5 and 10.
"We are at a crossroads, literally," said resident Eli Lippman and member of the Palms Neighborhood Council.
While DeDe Audet, of Venice, said that she believes that CD 11 should stay together, she pointed out that only districts 11 and 15 have ocean frontage.
"That's only two votes in city council, and I think we could do wih a few more votes in city council," she said.
Nancy Freeman, Chair of the Brentwood Community Council pointed out that with traffic being such a significant problem in most of CD 11, it would be good to keep the district together so that ongoing efforts to find solutions can continue.
"Our area, CD 11, seems to be working really well," she said.
"We have been torn apart [in the past] and it's really frustrating," Cyndi Hench, of the Westchester/Playa Vista/Playa Del Rey neighborhood council, told the commission, adding that the community has an ongoing issue dealing with Los Angeles International Airport.
She later told Patch that residents are concerned that because the population in CD 8, which the neighborhood is next to, has gone down and the population in CD 11 has grown, that the neighborhood will be either split or completely put into CD 8, which is largely South Central Los Angeles.
"That just isn't a community of interest [with us] at all," she said after the meeting broke up.
Mary Meadows attended the meeting with her husband, Pacific Palisades Community Councilmember Ernie Meadows. Mary Meadows said that she and her husband felt that they should attend to find out more about the redistricting process. She said that she favored keeping CD 11 together.
"Every district is unique," she said.
The Thursday night meeting was the seventh out of 15 meetings members of the commission are holding throughout the city as the first step in the process. Kadota said that there will be additional opportunities for the public to comment on the maps before the entire process is expected to be finalized by March 31, 2012.
Members of the public wishing to add their comments without attending an input meeting can do so on the redistricting website.