Los Angeles, CA - The California Citizens Redistricting Commission's deadline for public input on the newly-drawn map is Wednesday, July 20, 2011. Although the period for providing in-person testimonials has ended, residents can still provide written testimony and submit these to the commission via fax or e-mail.
The Alliance for a Better Community (ABC) - a multi-strategic, community-based Los Angeles advocacy organization - will continue to assist local residents who would like to submit a written testimonial to the commission, but do not have access to e-mail or fax. Residents are encouraged to bring their written testimonials - by Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - to the ABC office, which is located at 350 S. Bixel Street, Ste. 180, Los Angeles, CA 90017.
ABC also urges the Redistricting Commission to revise the newly-proposed map in order to ensure full and fair representation of Latino communities across Los Angeles County, and specifically requests the redrawing of the map in accordance with the Unity Maps submitted on June 28 by Latino, African American, and Asian American advocacy groups such as MALDEF, NALEO, AARC, and APALC.
The map as it is drawn now would violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protects underrepresented communities from discrimination in the electoral process. In addition, a Gibson Dunn July 13 Memorandum clearly states that “if the commission does not create several Latino-majority districts in Los Angeles County, a court might find that the Commission’s maps have resulted in Latinos having less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice, in violation of Section 2.” The Unity Maps of the Assembly, Southern California Senate and Congress, submitted on June 28, offer an alternative that complies with Section 2 of the Voters Rights Act.
Why is this important? Latinos represent 40% of the population in our state, and account for 90% of the state’s population growth in the last decade. However, the current map fails to reflect this community’s growing electoral influence. In fact, the new map disempowers minority and socio-economically disadvantaged communities.
For example, the current map joins densely-populated cities and Latino immigrant hubs like South Gate with African American communities in Long Beach that do not share the same interests or needs. If the map remains unchanged, Latinos and African Americans will compete for equal representation at the expense of fair representation. These two groups have long-fought to select candidates that will properly represent each community’s interests and needs in Congress. Keeping the map in its present state would be irresponsible, a disservice to these communities, and would severely disrupt the political process in these areas.
Redistricting will undoubtedly affect Latinos for decades to come. This is why it is crucial that we make our voices heard, and that the Commission follow the Unity Maps drafted by NALEO, MALDEF, APALC and AARC in order to ensure fair and equal representation to communities of color.
Please Note: Residents can submit a public comment directly to the Commission by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. Public Comments may also be submitted via mail to the following address:
Citizens Redistricting Commission
901 P Street, Suite 154-A
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: (916) 651-5711