At the end of a nearly eight-hour-long meeting on Wednesday evening, filled with public testimony and debate, Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commissioner Arturo Vargas addressed the dwindling audience with a mixture of defeat and self-absolution in his voice.
"We are imperfect people and we have made an imperfect map," Vargas said. "But, it was a process we all had to go through."
The final map, approved by a 16-5 vote, left many constituents unsatisfied. Koreatown residents, who filled city hall chambers in hopes of persuading commissioners into unifying the Wilshire Center-Koreatown Neighborhood Council in City Council district 13, were unfulfilled.
As were residents of City Council District 9, who came out in force to protest the shift of their portion of Downtown into Council District 14.
Northeast Los Angeles residents were also treated to a mixed bag with the final maps.
Due to the withdrawal of Amendment G, a last minute alteration to the proposed maps, many communities that were previously split--including Glassell Park--were not made whole.
Additionally, a portion York Boulevard that some residents argue has thrived under Council District 14 Representative José Huizar, was not moved back into Huizar's District from Council District 1.
Community members from both Eagle Rock and Highland Park argued in favor of Amendment G, speaking of the strong ties the northern portion of Highland Park had with Eagle Rock.
"As a business owner and resident of north Highland Park, I feel a strong tie to the Eagle Rock community," Milligan said. "I'm hoping all of you will take this relationship into consideration. We have a lot of projects in CD14 that will disappear if we become a part of CD1, and I'd hate to see that happen. The economic development in this region is of the utmost importance."
Bob Gotham, of The Eagle Rock Association (TERA), expressed a similar sentiment, saying "there's a synergy between these communities and we feel it will stay that way if they stay in the same council district."
Bill Rumble, a Mount Washington resident and member of the Mount Washington Association, also spoke in favor of Amendment G--specifically because it would unite the neighborhoods of Cypress Park, Glassell Park and Mount Washington.
"Mount Washington and Glassell Park are united in the Mount Washington-Glassell Park Specific Plan. Cypress Park and Glassell Park are united in the community design overlay plan," Rumble said. "This is a river oriented community and all three communities should be kept together in one."
Those who called for a completely unified Northeast Los Angeles did not have their request fulfilled.
The Northeast will be split between CD14 and CD1--with several communities within the region being split between two districts, including Highland Park and Montecito Heights.
Andrew Westall, executive director of the commission, said commissioners did a good job in the effort to unite Northeast communities, despite not unifying the entire area.
"If you remember the testimony that was given at Occidental College, the Glassell Park folks were saying you should move us out of CD13 because having three council districts doesn't give us effective representation of that area," Westall said. "We were able to achieve all the council objectives while dealing with all this population rotation that was extremely disruptive to the entire city. I think it was the intent of the commission to unite the communities to the greatest extent possible."
Less impressed was Commissioner Helen Kim, who asked why the commissioners had not considered a map submitted by the , which would have united all of Northeast L.A. into one district.
"We could have done a better job," Kim said.
Commissioner José Cornejo argued that, while many Northeast Los Angeles residents had called for a unified region, they were divided as to which council district they preferred to be in.
"There was a lot of discussion about a united Northeast L.A.," Cornejo said. "When you start to talk to those neighborhoods individually, they were very particular about where they wanted to be placed. And, I think this map does a better job at reflecting their individual desires. They couldn't all agree where they wanted to be, but they wanted to be united. So, I think this map does the best job at reflecting the communities of interest."
The commission will meet again on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 4 p.m. at the Van Nuys City Council Chamber, located at 14410 Sylvan Street.
While the maps are final, commissioners said, they will be tasked with finalizing the report that will accompany the maps. Commissioners will also be able to file dissenting opinions. The map and report will then be sent to the city council for review on March 1. The council then has until July to approve the maps.
You can view the maps in the media box above or download them from the commission's website here.
Neighborhood Break Down
Mount Washington: Whole in CD1
Highland Park: Mostly CD1 with Garvanza in CD14
Cypress Park: Whole in CD1
Glassell Park: Split Between CD14 and CD1
Eagle Rock: Mostly in CD14 with a small portion in CD1
Atwater Village: Whole in CD13
Montecito Heights: Split Between CD1 and CD 14