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ELB, Central City & Downtown Council Redistricting Heats Up:

  • 4th Dist. Councilman Carroll seeks to take (or reclaim) El Dorado Park area south of Spring St. and adjoining neighborhood from 5th Dist.
  • Former Councilman Evan Braude urges some Port areas be returned to 1st district from 2d district; DLBA rep urges maintaining dual Council districts for downtown
  • LB Redistricting Coalition urges uniting Cambodian community; Cambodian community rep says leaves things as they are

    (July 19, 2001) -- The City Council took its first public input on proposed redistricting at its July 17 meeting. Among the issues:

  • Whether the 1st district should include all or part of the Port of LB. The 2d district has the Port exclusively now; years ago, the 1st had Port areas.

  • Whether southern parts of El Dorado Park and its adjacent neighborhood should stay in the 5th district or be shifted to the 4th district (where they were years ago).

  • Whether the Cambodian community should be united in a single Council district
  • There was silence from 8th district Councilman Rob Webb at the meeting over what would happen to his Los Cerritos/Bixby Knolls constituents. Councilman Webb suggested at a previous Council meeting that some of his constituents might find themselves shifted into the 7th district, effectively splitting the neighborhoods.

    Within legal parameters, a majority of Councilmembers can set and change Council district lines. Changes in district lines are legally required to ensure each district has relatively equal population, reflecting changes shown in 2000 census population data.

    ELB El Dorado Park southern area

    Controversy over this area was unexpected, since there are no significant population changes requiring redrawing the 5th district's lines.

    However, 4th district Councilman Dennis Carroll is using redistricting to try to reclaim parts of southern El Dorado Park and adjacent areas that were in the 4th district years ago, seeking (in his words) to re-establish the 4th district's presence on the east side of town.

    Councilman Carroll proposes to move the southern El Dorado Park area and adjoining neighborhood south of Spring Street from the 5th district to the 4th.

    This would include the El Dorado Park South neighborhood, the current 5th district field office at Parks & Rec HQ, the El Dorado Golf Course, Los Altos Little League Fields, Skate Park, Municipal Band Site, Community Center and Senior Center, El Dorado Library, Community Gardens, Companion Animal Village, El Dorado Nature Center and WRD Water Reclamation Plant.

    In exchange, Councilman Carroll proposes to give the 5th district the NW quadrant of the Traffic Circle to Signal Hill.

    Bristling at Carroll's move, 5th district Councilwoman Jackie Kell (as previously reported by last week sent a memo to her Council colleagues advising she was "vehemently opposed" to Councilman Carroll's proposal and saying that in her view it could violate redistricting criteria and harm constituents. (To see her memo, click on Kell memo, then return to this page.)

    As also previously reported on, the president of the El Dorado Park South Neighborhood Association sent a letter last week to the Mayor, cc'd to Councilmembers, stating the group's opposition to being shifted from the 5th to the 4th district. (To see the letter, click EPSNA letter, then return to this page.)

    Councilwoman Kell's position is that redistricting is driven by the census and the purpose of redistricting is to adjust districts to equalize population totals. She notes that based on the latest LB census population data, there is no legal requirement to change the 5th district lines at all.

    Councilmembers Carroll and Kell both came out swinging at the July 17 Council meeting.

    Councilman Carroll used graphics in an effort to frame the redistricting issue as one of fairness and equity to the district as a whole. He displayed a chart (using data from city staff) showing the 5th district had 804.7 acres of park space [not 993 acres as Carroll told us on July 17] while the 4th district has the second lowest park acreage in the city: 33.3 acres.

    We reproduce Councilman Carroll's chart, below:

    Percent of
    City-wide Total751,358.1100.0

    Councilman Carroll then displayed a series of maps reviewing changes made to the 4th and 5th district lines from 1977 to 1996 and his proposed revision. (To see the maps, click here.)

    After pointing out that maps prior to 1986 included part of El Dorado Park in the 4th district, Councilman Carroll said:

    In 1986...we were unfortunately removed from El Dorado Park, [the district line] came down to about Willow and began encroaching even further on the homes in the Los Altos area..and in 1991...the San Diego freeway suddenly began the boundary, completely intersecting the Los Altos neighborhood and even cutting us off physically from the park."
    It's my view that it is time to re-establish some greater balance that had traditionally existed between the 5th and the 4th district, both with respect to some homes, not many, but allow us to reshare our rightful place, in my view, of El Dorado Park and reestablish our presence on the east side of town.

    Councilman Carroll also said his plan would allow the 4th district "to recapture some of the homes that had been moved from the 4th to the 5th, as well as the southern portion only of El Dorado Park."

    He added:

    I do appreciate and have met with Councilwoman Kell, we had a very gracious meeting. She, understandably, is not thrilled with the plan and is putting up a spirited defense to it. But I think satisfactory arguments can be made and would be inviting the public's thoughts when we come to a Council meeting next Tuesday for a public hearing on this."

    For her part, Councilwoman Kell said:

    Councilman Carroll and I did have a meeting and we do not agree on what he has been proposing.

    First of all, the census is the driving factor in redistricting. It is to make the districts more even when it comes to population. And the latest census tells us that our district should have approximately 51,000 people per district, within 5% either up or down.

    So, the 5th district, the population is fine. There is really no reason to change anything. In fact, there's really no reason to change much of anything in the 3d, 4th and 5th.

    But I think Councilman Carroll kind of wants to swap less desirable real estate for more desirable real estate. And this is the kind of gerrymandering that breaks up neighborhoods.

    There's a large neighborhood group over there. They want to stay where they are. They have made their intentions known to Councilman Carroll.

    There are people in the Community Gardens over there who have also made their intentions known to Mr. Carroll.

    And there isn't any reason for me to change my district this time 'round. And, life isn't particularly fair sometimes. We want things maybe we don't have in our district sometime. But Mr. Carroll, I don't have a hospital. And I don't have a marina. But I can live with that.

    So, I don't want to change a district, disrupt a neighborhood that really doesn't have any reason to change, because we meet the legal parameters of what is required under redistricting.

    At the end of the Council discussion, Mr. Carroll took the last word:

    Just a brief rebuttal. It looks like I got to Jackie already. We certainly know those arguments, we used them for about 15 years on holding off the onslaught of the 5th district, so I understand the argument.

    Downtown/Port Areas

    Evan Braude

    ...Ten years ago, a plan was concocted by a small group of, what I will be very clear about, I think were selfish and self-centered individuals with raw, political power. Their concern appeared to be only about re-election. As the former Councilmember of the 1st district, not looking at re-election at that time, because I didn't want to run for re-election, I saw this as selfish maneuvering that cost the loss of most of the economic engine and viability of the first district...moving the entire Port and over half of the business district which had historically been in the first district for years and years and the second district...

    This Council has the ability to partially restore the viability of the first district that it lost 10 years ago, and stop any move by anyone or any group of people to further ghettoize, or concentrate the have and the have nots.

    I really feel that we need to have districts that have viable, economic engines, as we had in the past. By the way, the Councilmember who led that charge to the drastic change in the 1st and 2d district was overwhelmingly defeated at the next election.

    Craig Kojian, Exec Dir. DLBA

    ...I'm here on behalf of the assessment districts in the downtown to urge the continuance of dual Councilmanic districts to our downtown business and residential neighborhoods.

    At our most recent Board of Directors meetings, the Board did take action in urging Councilmembers to consider the two members of the City Council to continue to represent our downtown both from a residential and business standpoint would be excellent...

    Central LB and related issues

    Liz Miramontes, LB Redistricting Coalition

    Liz Miramontes...and I'm speaking on behalf of the Long Beach Redistricting Coalition representing all nine Council districts. Representatives have met with all City Councilmembers, the City Manager, City Attorney, City demographer and the Mayor and we thank you for your consideration...

    The Voting Rights Law states that when a community is sufficiently large enough and geographically concentrated enough to unite under one district, efforts to unite this community of interest are justified and rightly so.

    Therefore, please unite the Cambodian community. It is the right thing to do.
    Keeping communities of interest is a consideration to be regarded very seriously. Examples include where people shop, where they attend church, where they go to school, income levels, living conditions, cultural, ethnic and economic condition and environmental concerns.

    Moving the majority-minority [i.e. district has a majority of minority residents] 6th district boundaries north and west to divide Wrigley and Memorial Heights, or moving the majority-minority 7th district boundaries to encompass Bixby Knolls and Los Cerritos does not take into consideration communities of interest in these areas. This movement would in fact dilute the majority-minority balance.

    Sereivuth Prak, Dep. Dir., United Cambodian Community

    ...Mr. Delano Roosevelt did not represent well my district, the 4th one, and in the 6th district, former Vice Mayor Doris Topsy [Elvord], I am speaking from my heart, she seemed to be less in touch with my community.

    But during the past six months or one year, the two new elected officials, Mrs. Laura Batts and Mr. Dennis Carroll, they care for a lot of Cambodians and I see a lot of change.

    ...Of course, we have a dream to have a single district to cover a lot of Cambodians. Why do we want that? We want that because we want a representative who can represent our interests.

    But the two current leaders, Mr. Carroll and Mrs. Batts, have been representing us very well...For the time being, I think that most of you are doing your job very well within our Cambodian I think that I don't want to fix the system for the time being...

    Wayne Parks (LB Area Citizens Involved)

    ...We have taken a canvass of our group regarding the issues of redistricting...

    ...We believe you can develop a consensus around a plan that unifies the center of the Cambodian community without creating a district of the disenfranchised...

    We urge you to avoid redistricting that creates challenges for community planning and development in the future...To avoid the creation of a preponderance of community based social service agencies in one district...To avoid over-reliance on eminent domain as a redevelopment tool in one district...To avoid the absence of key cultural and educational institutions in one district...

    Vice Mayor Baker, who chaired the July 17 meeting, said there would be a second opportunity for public comment on redistricting during a special afternoon session of the City Council from 2-4 p.m. During that session, some Council district lines will be redrawn.

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