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City Council Redistricting Announcement Draws Ire From Council Members

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Los Angeles City Council members expressed frustration Wednesday when a draft map was released of new district boundaries that will be in place for the next decade.

The draft was released by the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission, a 21-member panel appointed by the city’s elected officials to redraw the maps based on 2010 census data.

The most notable changes include the separation of Westchester from LAX and the disunion of most of downtown from South Los Angeles. The new maps would extend one central Los Angeles district further into the San Fernando Valley, and eliminate a Westside district’s reach over the Santa Monica Mountains into the valley.

Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose district now includes the Los Angeles International Airport is set to lose the LAX-adjacent community of Westchester Councilman Bernard Parks’ district to the east.

Rosendahl says it’s a move that makes no sense as the Westchester community is impacted by the airport’s noise, traffic, security issues and expansion.

“That’s an insult frankly, to the people engaged with an issue that impacts them. So that shows no respect for the people of Westchester,” Rosendahl said. “Politicians are basically looking out for their best interests.”

Parks’ son and Chief of Staff, Bernard Parks Jr., agreed the move is drastic and senseless.

“Why are we all of the sudden adding areas that we have no relationship with and taking away areas that we have deep relationships with?” Parks Jr. said. “We believe Westchester is a great community, but we believe it’s a perfect fit with the councilman that represents it currently.”

Others angered by the proposed redistricting plan include City Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district covers an area of South Los Angeles. Perry described the commission’s map-drawing as “economic apartheid.”

Under the new boundaries, Perry would keep the successful L.A. Live complex and Staples Center, but would lose most of downtown and Little Tokyo. Councilman Jose Huizar would gain the lion’s share of downtown, including Skid Row.

Perry says the move is a politically motivated assets grab. “The worst part of all this is that the commission has created an economic wasteland based on agreements between elected officials who have cut deals with the leadership in the City Council,” she said.

The City Council will have to approve the final versions of the newly drawn boundaries after a period of public comment and any revisions by the commission.

For her part, Perry is mobilizing a group of downtown developers, Little Tokyo and downtown residents and community groups to oppose the new maps.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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