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APALC expresses disappointment with Los Angeles City Council redistricting map

Approved Map divides Koreatown
LOS ANGELES – Today, the Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance which sets out the City Council electoral lines for the next 10 years.  During the Los Angeles City Council redistricting process, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, and Asian American leaders and community members testified as to the location of six Asian American “towns” in the City of Los Angeles and stressed the importance of keeping each “town” whole.  Keeping together communities with shared interests allows communities to express their undivided political voice regarding City policy issues.  APALC also submitted a citywide mapping proposal which essentially kept each town whole while balancing other interests.

The approved redistricting map was developed by an advisory commission of political appointees followed by a final decision by the Los Angeles City Council. “While we appreciate that the city redistricting decision-makers kept most of the Asian American towns whole, we are disappointed that the new City Council map divides Koreatown,” said Joanna Lee, senior research analyst at APALC. A record number of Koreatown residents had testified and asked the redistricting commission and City Council to keep the Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council whole.
During the city’s redistricting process, stakeholders and commentators noted the influence politics had played in the drawing of the City Council lines.  In sharp contrast, the state redistricting commission could not take politics into consideration, and APALC and its partners were able to successfully advocate that all the Asian American towns in the City of Los Angeles be kept whole in the Assembly, State Senate, and Congressional maps.
“When you take politics out of the redistricting equation, communities have a better chance of remaining whole since they do not have to compete with political interests,” noted Deanna Kitamura, senior staff attorney at APALC.
The following is a summary of placement of six Asian American towns in the City of Los Angeles:
Little Bangladesh:  The community is kept whole in Council District 10.

Thai Town:  ThaiTown is whole and with the greater Thai Town area in Council District 13.

Little Tokyo: Little Tokyo is whole in Council District 14.

Historic Filipinotown:  The community’s definition of Historic Filipinotown is whole in Council District 13.

Chinatown:  The core of Chinatown is whole and with Lincoln Heights in Council District 1.

Koreatown:  For the City redistricting process, the Koreatown community defined itself as the Wilshire Center-Koreatown Neighborhood Council.  The neighborhood council is split between Council Districts 10 and 13.  The split separates the residents in the northern portion of WCKNC (in Council District 13) from Koreatown’s financial base (in Council District 10).

A map showing each town and the new district lines can be found at:

http://apalc.org/media-center/publications/la-city-council-district-boundaries-map-2012.

The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, is the nation’s largest Asian American legal and civil rights organization and serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year.  Founded in 1983, APALC advocates for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. Through direct legal services, impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, leadership development and capacity building, APALC seeks to serve the most vulnerable members of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities while also building a strong Asian American and NHPI voice for civil rights and social justice.

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