Open Discussion: What new City Council boundaries may mean for the Echo Park area

By Christine Peters

After many weeks of deliberating and holding public hearings, the Volunteer Redistricting Commission has revealed their recommendation for the new boundaries for our cities 15 Council Districts. The Commission is tasked every 10 years with redrawing the boundaries to balance population and demographics amongst the 15 Districts.  In this past Census cycle, population in the urban core shrank significantly while population growth in the Valley grew.

What does this mean for the Echo Park/Elysian Park area?  Well, very little so far. At the center of the “Urban Core” area needing to take on population, Echo Park is currently divided between CD 1 and CD 13, currently helmed by Councilman’s Ed P. Reyes and Eric Garcetti, respectively.   Both Councilman are termed out due to 12 year term limits and leave an opportunity for hopefuls who live in the districts – or ones who conveniently move into the districts – to vie for the council seat.

The recommended maps did not change the boundaries in our area but did suggest moving CD 13 further north into most of Glassel Park, while losing a portion of Silver Lake by the Silver Lake reservoir to CD 4, currently represented by Tom LaBonge.  LaBonge meanwhile could lose a significant portion of his Hollywood territory, Hancock Park and the Wilshire District as the maps recommend moving CD 4 further into the Valley.  CD 1 loses a gem in Debs Park but gains a significant stronghold in Mt. Washington.

What does all of this mean?  Well it means 5 weeks of public comment and more input before the maps are fine tuned and submitted to the City Council for final approval.  Then, the real fun begins!!  Incumbent Council members who are not termed out will jockey to keep what they consider “theirs”.  Bill Rosendahl has already thrown down the gauntlet to keep LAX and Westchester amongst his neighborhoods, and Bernard Parks is adamant about keeping Baldwin Hills.

Termed out Council members may try and fight to preserve the districts as they know them for various reasons – Some as simple as “nostalgia” for historic boundaries and others to pave the path for their endorsed replacement. This oddly could mean pushing to change or expand the boundaries to accommodate that successor who may live out of the current district or may need a different voter demographic to get elected.  Others will just wait for the maps to be finalized and move into whichever district they think will “go their way”.  It’s called politics for a reason!

So tune in for more “musical chairs” as electeds push and pull to hold on to what they had or what they perceive as a bonus to their newly redrawn boundaries.

This story appeared in the EPIAN Ways, the newsletter of the Echo Park Improvement Assn.

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