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Exposition Park Stays In CD 9 As LA City Council Moves Forward With ‘Hybrid’ Redistricting Plan

Los Angeles City Hall — an art-deco style building with a pyramidal rooftop and white facade — is seen from a distance.
Los Angeles City Hall
(Chava Sanchez for LAist)
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The L.A. City Council on Tuesday voted to advance a proposed redistricting plan, dubbed the “hybrid” map, on the way to drawing new political boundaries that will influence power and politics in the city for the next 10 years.

It was a blow for Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents the 8th district in South L.A. He and CD 4’s Nithya Raman were the only council members to vote against the map.

The approved plan was the result of a two-pronged process: first, a 21-member advisory redistricting commission made up of political appointees waded through four months of public hearings and stakeholder testimony to create a draft map, and submitted its proposal to the city council in late October.

Then last week, the city council held one meeting of an ad hoc redistricting committee, made up of seven council members. With Council President Nury Martinez at the helm, the ad hoc committee instead adopted the hybrid map, which included a vastly different design for San Fernando Valley districts recommended by a coalition of Latino labor groups.

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Instead of sweeping changes, the hybrid map keeps valley districts represented by Martinez, Paul Krekorian and Bob Blumenfield mostly intact — while Raman’s 4th district gets stretched considerably west, losing swaths of Hollywood and Silver Lake along the way. Raman is now in line to lose more than 40% of the constituents who helped elect her in 2020, by far the most significant disruption faced by any council district.

Who Gets Exposition Park

The council committee on Friday also passed dozens of amending motions to further tweak the redistricting commission’s proposal. This resulted in a key change for South L.A. involving some hotly contested assets. Under the hybrid plan, Council District 9 — represented by Curren Price — retained Exposition Park, which includes the Banc of California Stadium, L.A. Memorial Coliseum, and the upcoming $1-billion showcase Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

Both the nearby University of Southern California and Expo Park were historically part of the 8th District, Councilmember Harris-Dawson explained in an interview. But that changed during the last round of redistricting 10 years ago. In a “rash and thoughtless decision,” Harris-Dawson said, the council approved maps that drew both the university and the stadiums into the neighboring 9th District.

“We've been spending a lot of energy trying to right the wrong that was done 10 years ago,” Harris-Dawson said.

In October, the city’s redistricting commission struck a compromise over the debated area: its “K2.5 Final” map reverted Expo Park back to CD 8, while USC stayed in CD 9.

Splitting the difference didn’t last, however, as Expo Park flipped back to CD 9 under the ad hoc committee’s recommended hybrid map. On Tuesday, the full council passed roughly a dozen changes to the committee’s proposed boundaries, but Harris-Dawson’s amendment to return Exposition Park to his district failed to gain much support, going down in an 11-3 vote.

“We’ve suffered another setback today,” Harris-Dawson said. “This leaves the only majority Black district in the city without a regional economic asset.”

Harris-Dawson vowed to continue to fight to regain Expo Park, though he acknowledged meaningful changes to the redistricting maps would only get harder to achieve from here on out.

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“When you’re fighting for what’s right, you fight until the last available moment, until your last breath,” he said. “What we do here says a lot about how we feel and how we regard Black people in our city.”

Councilmember Price, however, celebrated the decision, touting the work his office has done bringing jobs to the area. “This was a huge victory for my District, which for years had been neglected and handicapped economically,” Price said in a statement. “Keeping the 9th District whole will help set a strong foundation for generations to come as the local economy will be stimulated through the continued development of the area.”

Next, the new council district maps will go through two public hearings: one on Nov. 10 and another on Nov. 23. The council plans to vote on the final plan on Dec. 1.