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LA City Council Opposes State's Redistricting Reform Plan

A man with dark hair, medium-tone skin and dressed in a beige jacket, holds a microphone in his right hand as he speaks.
Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de León has faced renewed criticism for speaking in support of a state redistricting bill, five months after tapes were leaked of him and two other city council members making racist comments as they talked about how to redraw City Council district lines.
(Patrick T. Fallon
AFP via Getty Images)
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The L.A. City Council voiced its opposition this week to a state bill that would establish an independent redistricting commission in Los Angeles.

The council voted 11-2 on the resolution, which makes their stance public but does not have any direct effect on the state legislation. Members in the majority said they want to reform redistricting on their own — without state interference.

The backstory

California Senate Bill 958 would create a citizens redistricting commission for the county of Los Angeles, and a resolution was put forward to support that bill, or one like it, that "creates an independent process with a new commission and new redistricting maps for the City of Los Angeles before the April 2023 special election."

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Councilmember Kevin De León was one of the two council members who voted No and who support the state bill (Monica Rodriguez was the other). His comments on the council floor drew a rebuke from his colleague Hugo Soto-Martínez, who called out De León's involvement in the recent leaked tape scandal.

Why it matters

This comes five months after leaked tape of three city council members making racist comments as they talked about how to redraw district lines. De León is one of the people heard on the tape — and the only one still in office — despite calls for him to resign.

He supports the redistricting reform bill — saying the state Senate "is giving the residents of the City of L.A. a gift in Senate Bill 52 for a fully independent process, an opportunity to quickly establish an independent commission made up of L.A. city residents to hold public hearings and redraw lines."

In response, Soto-Martínez told De León he "truly has no shame ... I mean, to come here and speak on this subject, the very subject that you had your hands in, is beyond me. Is this a Hollywood movie that I'm watching right now?"

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