Horrific Comments of LA Leaders Must Be Condemned, Shows What Redistricting Looks Like Behind Closed Doors

California Common Cause calls for independent redistricting commissions in LA and across the state 

California Common Cause unequivocally condemns the recently leaked anti-Black, anti-Indigenous, racist, and homophobic comments made behind closed doors by Los Angeles City leaders Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, Kevin de León, and LA Labor Federation President Ron Herrera.

California Common Cause is dedicated to building a democracy that is worthy of public trust. These indefensible remarks undermine fundamental democratic ideals by perpetuating the notion that Los Angeles residents cannot trust their local elected leaders to act in the best interest of their constituents. 

The audio recordings captured a conversation about redistricting between Councilmembers that demonstrates what the process looks like behind closed doors and under the control of incumbents with their thumbs on the scale. 

In October 2021, the same month in which this conversation occurred, California Common Cause called for an independent redistricting commission in the City of Los Angeles in a 10-page letter. Our letter cited the widely reported exploitation and manipulation of the redistricting process by the City Council in order to preserve their power over Los Angeles politics.

This is yet another instance that exemplifies why the drawing of new lines should not be left to political appointees, or elected bodies, but to the people. We reiterate our urgent call for an independent redistricting commission in the City of Los Angeles.

Angelenos deserve more from their representatives, and the call to action from the community is clear. The City Council cannot wait any longer – it must take decisive action in ridding the city of its broken redistricting process and replace it with a system that residents of Los Angeles can trust.

Statement from Jonathan Mehta Stein, Executive Director of California Common Cause:

While the dehumanizing and appalling comments of LA City Councilmembers have grabbed the headlines, the manipulation of district lines to serve those in power, at the expense of regular people and communities of color, is not unique to Los Angeles. It occurred across many California cities, counties, and school boards during the most recent redistricting cycle. And it will continue if the state legislature does not take action to put an end to these sorts of democratic abuses through widespread reform of our local redistricting systems.

California Common Cause’s mission is to build democratic systems that hold power accountable and allow communities to advocate for themselves and engage in self-governance. California can no longer turn a blind eye to the broken systems that weaken our democracy – widespread independent redistricting is the critically necessary next step in building a democracy that works for all of us.