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New Map Turns Supervisor District More Conservative

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By Jorge Casuso

December 16, 2021 -- A map for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved Wednesday by a citizens redistricting commission turns the 3rd District that includes Santa Monica more conservative.

The new map, which went into effect today, adds Porter Ranch, Chatsworth and Granada Hilles and removes Mar Vista, the Southeast Valley and the Cahuenga Pass from the District, which includes the Westside and the San Fernando Valley.

Under the new map, the district represented by Santa Monica resident Sheila Kuehl loses some of the region's most prized cultural venues.

The Hollywood Bowl, the L.A. County Museum of Art, the Ford Theatres and Universal Studios are now in Districts 2 and 5.

In a written comment to the 14-member citizens commission, Kuehl decried the loss of the cultural venues, saying that she and her staff have been “fierce advocates of the arts.”

The Supervisor, who is not seeking re-election next year, used her blog to blast the commission's "rushed adoption of a strategically manipulated 11th-hour map."

The map -- which was first unveiled on Sunday and received scant public input-- was drawn to favor two conservative candidates seeking to assume her powerful post, Kuehl said.

"The result of this last-minute marauding is that my District becomes far more centrist (as in, bye-bye any reform to our justice system)," making it easier for a more conservative candidate to win, she said.

"Two non-progressive men, middle-of-the-road Democrats who hope to be Supervisors used the Commission to shape their own dream districts," Kuehl wrote.

Kuehl, who did not name the two men, backs West Hollywood Councilwoman Lindsey P. Horvath in next year's 3rd District race to replace her.

Hours after the map was approved, State Sen. Henry Stern announce he was entering the race. The field includes Assemblyman Richard Bloom, a Santa Monica resident and former mayor, and Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin.

Sen. Bob Hertzberg of Van Nuys told Politico on Tuesday that he is “seriously considering” running for the seat.

Business advocates in the San Fernando Valley praised the new District 3 map, which covers 72.6 percent of the valley, according to the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.

"The Valley has not been receiving the attention we deserve as a region that one in five Los Angeles County residents calls home," the Valley Industry Commerce Association said in a statement Thursday.

"We are hoping that these districts will require our representatives to direct more time, resources and staff toward the Valley.”

District maps have been traditionally drawn by the County Supervisors themselves, resulting in individual supervisors protecting their turf by crafting maps that favored their prospects for re-election.

This is the first time an independent commission -- which was created by the state Legislature in 2016 to boost the chances of electing Latino and Asian candidates -- carves the County of 10 million residents into five equally populated districts.

To help ensure the process is non-political, members of the Citizens Redistricting Commission, who represent the County's demographic makeup, were chosen by a combination of luck and choice.

The Commission on Tuesday approved maps that added a second majority Latino district, concentrated Asians into one district and maintained the concentration of Black voters in South L.A.

Keuhl said leaving the citizens commission in charge of drawing the lines failed to keep politics out of the process.

"Ironically, this putatively apolitical and oh-so transparent Redistricting Commission’s final accomplishment was the rushed adoption of a strategically manipulated 11th-hour map," she wrote in her blog.

"Commissioners who voted for this map: shame on you," Kuehl concluded. "PS: don't get me started on what happened to the three other districts."

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