Hundreds of Council District 1 residents filled St. Peter's Italian Catholic Church in Chinatown on Saturday afternoon to take part in a Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission community input hearing.
From Highland Park to Echo Park to Koreatown, many of the residents who spoke made a similar plea to the city council appointed commissioners--unite our community.
In Highland Park, which has been divided between Counci Districts 1 and 14 for more than 40 years, the calls for unification were made by community members like Richard Marquez, of the Historic Highland Park (HHPNC) neighborhood council; Gemma Marquez, a teacher at Luther Burbank Middle School and Paul Bonsell, a HHPNC stakeholder.
"Highland Park is one community with one neighborhood council," Marquez said. "We should have one city council district, with one vision, one purpose.
Marquez saracastically responded to arguments that Highland Park is lucky to have multiple representatives, as it increases the number of voices speaking for the neighborhood in city hall.
"For some reason we're the chosen ones who've been so lucky to have that opportunity," he said. "Maybe, just maybe, some other community would like to have that opportunity and let us take the back seat this time around. Maybe Eagle Rock wouldn't mind being split in half?"
Dr. Stanley Moore, who also serves on the HHPNC, offered up a different view. He said that being served by multiple council members affords the community more founding sources and more votes in City Hall.
"I wouldn't mind if Highland Park was split between CD 4, CD 1, CD 14 and CD 13," Moore said. "It takes eight votes to pass anything through City Hall and I'm as selfish as I can be in that regard."
Saturday's meeting was part of an ongoing series of redistricting meetings held in each of Los Angeles 15 city council district meetings. Input from these meetings, along with updated 2010 census data will guide the commission's ad-hoc map drafting committee as they redraw the council districts.
Those maps will then be presented to communities for review throughout January and February, and then submitted to the city council in March for final approval.