After public outcry, independent redistricting moves closer to being on the 2024 ballot
LOS ANGELES — Today, the City of Los Angeles voted to move forward with the creation of an Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC). California Common Cause applauds the City Council for advancing this meaningful redistricting reform to ensure that Los Angeles’ redistricting process is fair and worthy of the public’s trust.
This move follows the 2022 redistricting scandal that shocked the nation and months of hearings, recommendations, and advocacy from community organizations, including California Common Cause, residents, community leaders, and academics. The proposal has been informed by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission’s best practices, evidence-based research, and lessons learned from around the country.
“We’re thrilled to see independent redistricting for the City of Los Angeles move closer to getting on the ballot,” said Russia Chavis Cardenas, California Common Cause’s voting rights & redistricting program manager. “If passed by voters, independent redistricting – free from the political gamesmanship that leads to gerrymandering – will help restore trust in our government and will build a City Council that is truly reflective of and prioritizes the needs of Angelenos.”
While today’s action toward an IRC is the first step in the right direction of reform, loopholes must be closed to ensure that the commission will be truly independent. Along with their vote of support, the City Council quietly added an amendment that would allow individuals with ties to City Hall to serve on the commission within two years of their separation from the city. A more extended ban on employment is necessary to prevent a revolving door of special interests from serving on an independent redistricting commission.
The widely acclaimed IRC model has proven to lead the most fair, transparent, and inclusive redistricting processes at the local, state, and congressional levels, as demonstrated at the state level by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Key local jurisdictions have also successfully utilized the IRC model, with a major report finding that Los Angeles County, San Diego County, the City of San Diego, the City of Long Beach, and the City of Sacramento led the most fair and participatory processes in the state in 2020 over redistricting processes run by incumbents.
“Establishing an independent redistricting commission will help ensure the redistricting process works for all Angelenos,” said Alton Wang, Equal Justice Works Fellow at Common Cause. “But an independent redistricting commission alone is not enough. The City must move to implement ethics reforms and reduce the size of Council Districts to ensure that all residents of Los Angeles have fair representation and that our leaders remain accountable to our communities.”
As one of the architects of California’s statewide Citizens Redistricting Commission, California Common Cause has led the charge for independent redistricting in local communities for decades. The organization’s advocacy and recommendations have been informed by watchdogging over 60 local jurisdictions during the most recent redistricting cycle, on top of 20 years of experience monitoring and working with the state’s Citizens Redistricting Commission.
Independent redistricting is the first step toward building a representative City Council that serves all Angelenos equally. In order to ensure a fully accountable, responsive, and transparent Los Angeles, the City must now move to reduce the size of Council Districts and explore additional ethics reforms, like strengthening the ethics commission and creating stronger oversight.