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Divided Council carves new district lines:

  • 1st & 2d districts will share Port area
  • Carroll & Kell compromise: 4th gets southern end of El Dorado Park & Nature Center; 5th keeps El Dorado Park South neighborhood, community gardens & district office
  • 8th & 9th districts shrink westward from Cherry; 8th keeps Los Cerritos
  • Baker & Colonna divide Bluff Hts at Orizaba
  • Cambodian community still divided between 6th and 4th districts
  • Westside Pro West Neighbors (1st dist) & Memorial Hts Neighborhoods (7th dist) not divided
  • 6th district gets Memorial & St Mary's Hospitals

    We provide extended transcript excerpts, below

    (July 26, 2001) -- In a tense, special afternoon meeting on July 24, mandated by new population data but propelled by politics, the City Council voted 6-3 to redraw Council district lines. We provide extended transcript excerpts of this unusually tense meeting, below.

    A divided Council divided LB as follows:

    • The southern end of El Dorado Park (part of the 5th district since 1986, previously in 4th dist.) sought by 4th district Councilman Dennis Carroll becomes part of the 4th district, including the Nature Center. However, the El Dorado Park South residential neighborhood, community gardens, animal companion village and Council field office (originally sought by Carroll) will remain in the 5th district after Carroll and Kell struck a compromise.

    • Part of the Port and adjacent area (SERRF plant and westside PAC industrial area) will be in the 1st district; both the 1st and 2d districts will have Port related assets

    • The 8th & 9th districts, legally required to shrink, compressed westward from Cherry Ave., leaving the Los Cerritos neighborhood undivided in the 8th district.

    • The Bluff Heights neighborhood (Broadway to 4th, Redondo to Temple) was split at Orizaba Ave. (details below) between 2d and 3d districts

    • The Cambodian community remains divided between 6th and 4th districts

    • The Westside Pro West area (1st dist) & Memorial Hts neighborhood (7th dist) won't be divided

    • 6th district gets Memorial & St. Mary's hospitals
  • [ note: City Hall has not yet made available an accurate color map reflecting the many changes and swaps made by Councilmembers on July 24. When we get it, we'll post it on this page and on our Reference page.]

    Tension became apparent early in the meeting. Councilwoman Bonnie Lowenthal, the first to speak (and the author of one of only two plans being discussed) said, "The process has put some of us who normally work very well together in different camps..."

    Later in the meeting, Vice Mayor Baker echoed these sentiments, saying, "It's led to quite a bit of divisiveness among us...It's come to the point where colleagues are saying some very derogatory things about each other in public settings and that's very disturbing to me."

    Among other things, Councilwoman Lowenthal's proposal included Broadway as the southern boundary and taking part of Port in westside project area.

    Councilman Carroll's proposal

    The only other proposal on the table was offered by 4th district Councilman Dennis Carroll, even though the 4th (and 5th) districts had no legal requirement to change their lines (because they already had roughly 1/9 of the city's 2000 census population of 461,522).

    Councilman Carroll sought to regain parts of El Dorado Park south of Spring Street that were once in the 4th district but had been in the 5th district since 1986. His proposal was strongly opposed by 5th district Councilwoman Jackie Kell and residents of a neighborhood adjacent to El Dorado Park.

    After details were reported on (and subsequently by other LB media), Councilman Carroll amended his plan, proposing to leave the El Dorado Park south neighborhood in the 5th district, carving out an island of 5th district territory nearly surrounded by the 4th district.

    Councilman Carroll began his presentation by boasting it was "co-sponsored and has been co-planned" by Councilmembers Frank Colonna and Jerry Shultz.

    Councilman Carroll said Shultz was in a district that didn't have to change at all so he brought the "impartiality and sense of fairness that we're all seeking here" and Colonna "brings his wealth of experience dealing with not only his district but his business experience is brought to bear."

    Carroll added, "I think when we bring forward this plan, we are able to represent to our citizens that it has been carefully considered by some of our most experienced members...We hope that this plan is going to meet with the approval of a majority of our Councilmembers."

    Councilman Carroll then said Councilwoman Lowenthal had an "advantage" by being able to address the particular parts of her plan that affect her district. Accordingly, Carroll, said that concerning his plan:

    "My suggestion to the Mayor, and with the Mayor's consent when it is appropriate, I'm going to invite two speakers who support this plan specifically, Vice Mayor Dan Baker and then Councilmember [Laura Richardson-] Batts to address their portion, and then I would address my portion ..."

    With Baker, Colonna, Richardson-Batts and Shultz, Carroll had a Council majority, enough to pass his redistricting plan.

    Councilman Carroll then invited his plan's supporters to address aspects of the plan that affected their districts. Vice Mayor Baker noted that Carroll's plan gives the entire westside PAC portion of the Port area (including the SERRF plant) to the 1st district, allowing both districts to share some Port related assets, to which he agreed.

    Councilwoman Richardson-Batts responded positively to putting St. Mary's and Memorial Hospitals in the 6th district. Regarding the Cambodian community (which Carroll's proposal split between the 6th and 4th districts), she said 50% of the Cambodian community's population could be achieved by several districts, including the 1st, the 4th and the 6th:

    "We have to be careful not to dilute, and again this is according to the Voting Rights Act, you can't dilute one minority for another one. And so unless this Council is prepared today, which I don't think we are, to draw three Caucasian districts, one Hispanic district, one African-American district and one district that's a mix of all, we would be in jeopardy of some serious issues I think with several groups..."

    Councilman Carroll noted in the central city, there seemed to be a split of opinion in the Cambodian community as to whether it should be unified in a single district or split between two Councilmembers.

    As to ELB, Councilman Carroll said that if redistricting was an appropriate forum for the 5th district to take El Dorado Park from the 4th district in the past, it was appropriate to revisit the issue now "to begin to restore the 4th district's rightful presence in El Dorado Park."

    Councilman Carroll said that after the El Dorado Park South neighborhood asked to remain in the 5th district, "we went back to work and crafted a new stay next to the park. It was not, and it never has been, my desire to interfere with any of the relationships that currently exist at our near El Dorado Park or in the 5th district."

    He said he had also revised his plan to allow the current 5th district Council office, Parks and Rec, Senior Center, Skateboard Park, 4 Little League Parks, a Pony League Park, 15 tennis courts and a library to remain in the 5th district.

    He indicated this revision was "as a courtesy to my colleague [Jackie Kell]. I think she knows, and I have told her, I am working out of my car, my district office is my car, wherever I happen to be. I am extremely reluctant to spend taxpayer money which I would have to do if I wouldn't have free office space which is available at Recreation Park, but in deference to the concerns expressed, and my colleague, I'm happy to continue doing that until I'm able to find space which I hope is free, not at taxpayer expense, perhaps more centrally located in the district."

    9th district Councilman Jerry Shultz was then given the floor and quipped, "I never realized how popular I was before I became the swing vote today on this issue." He later observed, "With the exception of the people who come down here regularly and who read our paper and watch us on cable, I suspect the average citizen out there doesn't even know what district they're in."

    Councilman Shultz added, "I think sometimes we're putting too much emphasis in what a terrible thing it will do to our neighborhoods if we change this boundary, up, down, or left or right. I don't think it's a big change at all for most people, other than political."

    Councilwoman Kell opposes Carroll's ELB lines

    5th district Councilwoman Jackie Kell was then given the floor and didn't mince words about her view of Carroll's plan:

    "Well, Councilman Carroll wanted something in the fifth district, I'll tell you that. First of all, he wanted the Airport, and we told him no. Then he wanted a neighborhood of 645 households and fortunately for me...they kindly told him that they have liked my representation...and that they would rather stay in the 5th district. Alright, now, he wants part of the park. Well, this is a regional park and the people from the 4th district can go over there any time they please."

    Now what bothers me about this particular type of gerrymandering, which I think is some of the worst gerrymandering I've ever seen in my life, goes around by the thinnest of margins and up to take the part of the park. Now what part is he taking? First of all, he wanted my field office because his is in his car. Well, Councilman Carroll I suggest you find a field office in your district.

    Secondly, he wanted of course the companion animal village. Now I have worked on getting donors to give money and it takes millions of dollars to build this new companion animal village, and I don't know that Councilman Carroll has put any effort into getting people to donate to the companion animal village.

    He wants the community gardens. There's over 300 gardens there. My husband and I have had a community garden in the 5th district for years...Mr. Carroll has never shown any interest in the community gardens.

    ...You know, Councilman Carroll, I don't have a hospital. Maybe I ought to gerrymander myself over to Community [Hospital], or maybe I should gerrymander myself so I can have a couple of marinas like Councilman Colonna has...

    But nevertheless, this is contiguous by the least, thinnest possible margins, and I really am kind of appalled by this extreme gerrymandering.

    Now last week, I voted for the substation in Scherer Park because the residents of that area, the 8th and 9th, especially the 8th, told me that neighborhoods around a park should control what goes on there.

    Alright, this week I'm asking you to look at the same issue that my district surrounds that park, and Councilman Carroll kind of wants to represent the hole in the donut.

    These neighbors are surrounding El Dorado Park. They're directly impacted by the park on a daily basis and they need, I think, to have their say about this park and what goes on in this park and not have another Councilman come up there out of the blue because he just wants it...

    I'll tell you what kinds of phone calls and e-mails and letters I've been getting...I just got this e-mail today...[quoting] "My family is very concerned about the current efforts by Councilman Dennis Carroll of the 4th district to reclassify a portion of the 5th district into the 4th district. The area identified includes a significant portion of El Dorado Park. Let me be frank. We strongly oppose any effort to reclassify this portion of El Dorado Park into the 4th district...And let's keep in mind.,,we have a Mayoral race coming up and we will vote in support of those candidates who oppose any change in the current district...[end quote]

    The Mayor then opened the proceedings to public testimony. Excepts follow. Our transcript is not official. Not all speakers or their statements are transcribed.

    Devon Day, VP El Dorado Park South Neighborhood Association

    "...We're very concerned about the motivation for the park takeover..."

    Naomi Rainey, Pres. NAACP (LB)

    ...[W]e want to make sure that any plan that's adopted does not impact the voting rights of under represented minorities. We also need to be assured that the redistricting plan that's adopted does not dilute the minority vote...We want to ask the City of Long Beach to make sure that they're not opening the door for legal challenges by such organizations as the NAACP, ACLU particularly concerned about gerrymandering..."

    Tonia Reyes Uranga

    ...[Asks to display map of Carroll's plan] I just want to ask everyone in the audience and whoever's looking, does that look contiguous to you?...I believe that the line between the 2d and the 1st [district] on Broadway should stay on Broadway...I'm supporting the District 1 plan. I want to thank everyone for keeping me in the 7th district and I do agree with Jackie [Kell] that this District 4 [Carroll's] plan is very much gerrymandering and it does not really adhere to the rules, the spirit of redistricting.

    Richard Green, 2d district resident

    "The gerrymandering efforts to achieve a portion of El Dorado Park clearly is non-contiguous. The efforts to include St. Mary's hospital in the 6th district again, I think, violates the intent of the criteria established by the staff and is clearly an effort at gerrymandering...Even though there is no census data collected for purposes of redistricting on the size of the gay and lesbian community, it is clearly a community of common interest in the 2d district and one that should be preserved and remain in tact. I'm concerned about the Broadway corridor. And for all of those reasons, I support the 1st district [B. Lowenthal] plan.

    John Malveaux, LB Central Area Association

    "The different ethnic groups in the 6th and contiguous districts are working very hard to coexist in peace and harmony. The district 4 [Carroll] plan will encourage and help us to accomplish that.

    Statement by Robert Fox, Pres. Bluff Hts. Neighborhood Ass'n.
    delivered by Meg Collins

    ...The neighborhood association of Bluff Heights would like to remain intact as a whole. It has been suggested by the 2d district Councilmember that a portion of Bluff Heights from Broadway to 3d Street should be annexed to the 3d district. We oppose such a division.

    It is imperative for the Councilmembers to respect the existing boundaries of the neighborhood associations. As volunteers, it is difficult enough to find time to move forward on improvement projects without the added burden of dealing with two Council offices...

    If it is the will of the City Council to annex Bluff Heights, then do so in total. Take all of Bluff Heights from Junipero to Redondo, Broadway to 4th Street and give us to the 3d district. To take all the way to Cherry would be to take away a portion of Alamitos Beach Neighborhood Association area...

    [Ms. Ryan for herself]...I don't know whether you remember, between 1985 and 1990 we were flooded with almost 9,000 units of crackerbox apartments. And we need a City Councilperson to represent us. That's the most important vote that we can make, more so than for President...

    So when you decide what you're going to do with my district, I want the district kept together with the single family dwellings, and I want to be able to have a City Councilperson who's going to represent me and not special interest groups.

    Mack Tyson

    ,,,I am really appalled to look at the drawing of the 4th district there where they're going to split Memorial Heights...

    Cathy Spurlock, Sec'y/Treas., Westside Project Area Committee

    ...We represent 450 businesses, many of which provide direct services to the Port of Long Beach...We are here to reconfirm our support and rally support for Councilmember Bonnie Lowenthal's plan...The downfall with Councilman Baker's plan is the choice of lines he's placing along the longtime neighborhood groups, most especially Pro West United...

    Councilmembers make changes, compromises

    Councilmember Lowenthal and Vice Mayor Baker then announced they had agreed to adjust the line on Carroll's plan regarding the Pro West United area to keep the neighborhood united (drawing the border at Santa Fe, not Caspian) and to give a small, unpopulated portion of the 710 freeway to the 1st district.

    Councilwoman Lowenthal added, "We have to get numbers and so on about changing a portion of that southern boundary of the 1st district back to Broadway and I'm not sure we've reached agreement, but we're talking about it so that part of the 1st district's southern boundary would be Broadway, and part of it would be 3d Street and we have to exchange some numbers there..."

    Councilman Frank Colonna took the floor and said, "Not everyone is going to be happy, but in the spirit of compromise, I don't really feel it's geography; it is people. But people occupy geography in the city and as a result there is going to be some giving and taking just simply because that's the way it is...But in the end, this is all of our city..."

    Colonna suggested modifying the 3d district, instead of moving north on Junipero, Temple could serve as the point where Baker's 2d district could pick up population. [This was eventually modified later, below.]

    Councilman Shultz then spoke a second time:

    I want to comment on the term "gerrymandering," and more specifically, if you look at the map, I call it the "Tail of the Whale," which is the area of the 4th district which Councilmember Carroll would take should his plan pass.

    According to the dictionary, gerrymandering is defined as, "To divide a geographic area into voting districts to give unfair advantage to one party in an election." This entire area is grass and trees; there are no voters whatsoever. So by the legal definition, it's not gerrymandering.

    Now while it make look awkward when you look at the map, it's not any more awkward than, look at San Pedro or Harbor City, connected to the City of Los Angeles by a tiny, thin strip that parallels the Harbor Freeway...

    But again, it looks awkward, but as far as disenfranchising any voters in the area, it doesn't, it's just green grass and trees...

    [ comment: A dictionary definition isn't a legal definition. However, this enlightening background appears on line from the The American HeritageŽ Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition, 2000:


    "To divide (a geographic area) into voting districts so as to give unfair advantage to one party in elections.

    TRANSITIVE VERB: To divide (a geographic area) into voting districts so as to give unfair advantage to one party in elections.

    NOUN: 1. The act, process, or an instance of gerrymandering. 2. A district or configuration of districts differing widely in size or population because of gerrymandering.

    ETYMOLOGY: After Elbridge Gerry + (sala)mander (from the shape of an election district created while Gerry was governor of Massachusetts).,,]

    Councilwoman Kell vows to "go down fighting"

    Councilwoman Kell was given the floor a second time and escalated her rhetoric and resistance:

    Since this meeting has started, I have heard from eight different constituents who are watching this meeting, by fax, by phone and by email.

    And they're my constituents so obviously I have to take into consideration how they feel about this redistricting, but after hearing from these eight constituents, I have to say I'm going to abide by what they want.

    First of all, the 3d and 4th and 5th district didn't have to change one iota. We were totally in compliance with the population figures and we could have just stayed the way we are.

    Now this is what I have heard from my constituents since this meeting started. One of them said, "The political rape of the fifth district is what's occurring and Councilwoman Kell, do not be a part of it." That's pretty strong language, the political rape of the fifth district...

    So this is what I have to say. I'll go down fighting, but then that's what they elected me for...

    This is not San Pedro, however, this is what I'm going to do in spite of it all. I'm going to take a stand and make a mark because my constituents said do not voluntarily give Dennis Carroll El Dorado Park.

    Bluff Heights neighborhood split

    Mayor O'Neill noted that there had been five suggested modifications to Carroll's plan and Vice Mayor Baker indicated that there were additional changes to the 2d district:

    On the east end of the 2d district, it puts back in the 2d district everything between Broadway and Third Street west of Orizaba. Everything east of Orizaba would go into the 3d district

    Also, the line between the 1st and 2d district so that everything west of Pacific north of Broadway would be in the 1st district; everything east of Pacific and south of 3d St. would be in the 2d district.

    After another brief time out, Councilman Colonna referred to the Bluff Heights neighborhood (4th to Broadway, Junipero to Redondo) and said that "no matter how we do this, there's going to be some division somewhere and it appears like it's going to be on Orizaba, but Councilmember Baker and I are committed to work together..."

    Councilmember Carroll then asked for another time out. When the proceedings resumed, a deal emerged.

    Carroll & Kell compromise on El Dorado Park

    Councilman Carroll: I realize how the democratic process works now...

    Councilmember Kell and myself have had some honest discussions and we are making a proposal, Madam Mayor, that the amended District 4 Plan 1 map [Carroll's proposal] would be further changed...and that is specifically with respect to El Dorado Park that we both would agree that that section of the park, the lower, bottom left quadrant which now includes park land and El Dorado golf course, including the club house portion:

    The park portion would remain in the 5th district. The golf course below Willow would be 4th district. Everything above Willow in that quadrant would remain in the 5th district, including the holes of the golf course that are up there.

    The 4th district would take the Nature Center.

    And the community gardens and the animal companion center would be extracted from the plan I had and they would be a part and remain a part of the 5th district.

    Councilwoman Kell then said:

    [T]he park land that abuts my neighborhoods would be intact and I would represent that part that the neighborhood feels should consider with this person's representation.

    I will say that he has offered several different compromises, and he finally hit the one that I would be happy with, so I will vote for this amended portion.

    The first votes

    Councilman Carroll made a motion to adopt his amended plan with its numerous modifications.

    Councilwoman Lowenthal then said, "I know that this isn't going to fly, but because of the principles attached to it, I'd like to make a substitute motion" to support her plan. The motion failed 4-5 (Yes: Lowenthal, Kell, Grabinski and Webb; No: Baker, Colonna, Carroll, Richardson-Batts, Shultz).

    Councilman Carroll's amended plan then passed on a 5-4 vote (Yes: Baker, Colonna, Carroll, Richardson-Batts, Shultz; No: Lowenthal, Kell, Grabinski, Webb)

    The re-vote and conclusion

    A bizarre series of events followed. Councilwoman Kell said, "What I was voting for was the amended part of the 4th district plan."

    The Mayor replied (accurately) that Carroll's amendments were part of the main motion. Councilwoman Kell said she'd like to separate those amendments, indicating "What I want to do is vote on the amended part of the 4th district plan."

    The City Attorney noted that to change the prior vote, the Council would have to rescind its prior vote. Councilman Carroll said he was prepared to make the motion to rescind, indicating he considered it critical to what the disagreement is.

    And the Council voted unanimously to rescind its prior vote approving Carroll's plan.

    Councilman Carroll then moved that his plan be adopted "as amended by the oral declarations between myself and Councilmember Kell." The Mayor noted this wasn't what Kell wanted; she wanted two votes.

    Councilwoman Lowenthal then made a point of order. "The first motion, I believe, is for Councilmember Kell's interest in amending District 4's plan to include their new agreement about that plan, not to vote for the plan but to vote for the amendment."

    The Mayor then (again) pointed out the amendments were part of the first motion.

    Growing annoyed as events appeared to be careening out of control, Councilman Carroll snapped:

    "There's only one vote, Councilmember, and I would appreciate it that you permit legal counsel to render that opinion. I don't want this to be any more confused than it has to be. There was an understanding between myself and Councilmember Kell that she would support my plan if it was amended as it was or changed as it was, and I do not want to have it segregated when that is not legally necessary or appropriate and violates the spirit of our understanding. And I'd invite the City Attorney's comments."

    City Attorney Heather Mahood:..."How you vote on motion depends on how you make the motion. So whoever is the maker of the motion can either make it as the District 4 plan unamended or you can move to approve the plan as amended after all of the amended which were orally articulated."

    Councilman Carroll: Thank you.

    Mayor O'Neill then (again) noted that the Council had voted on the district 4 plan plus all of the amendments that had been articulated. And Councilmember Webb pointed out that the Council had also voted to rescind that vote, meaning there was no approved plan at the moment.

    Assistant City Attorney Mahood summed up: "What we need to have the final plan adopted by you tonight because we will start the legal descriptions tomorrow, so we won't be able to change anything on Tuesday. You will take another vote because you're going to be approving the legal description. However, we do need to have your final action on what plan you want us to adopt tonight."

    Mayor O'Neill: Councilmember Kell, tell us what you're confused about.

    Councilwoman Kell: What I want here is that Councilmember Carroll and I have agreed on this plan that goes into the 5th district and that's all I want to vote on.

    The Mayor: You don't want to vote on the plan for the city?

    Councilwoman Kell: I can vote on the plan for the city, but if I don't agree with the whole plan for the city, but I agree with what he has proposed in the 5th district, what's wrong with that?

    Councilman Carroll: It's called a bird in the hand. That is not the proposal before the Councilwoman. It was my understanding she was prepared to support it and it was premised on her support and I will reiterate the motion. The plan as amended is before the Council and it is as I said before my understanding and publicly confirmed by you you'd be prepared to support that. That is, it was a joint proposal.

    Councilman Shultz: Madam Mayor, I call for the question.

    Mayor O'Neill: We haven't got a question. Councilman Carroll, would you restate your motion?

    Councilman Carroll: Yes, the motion is that the Council redistricting plan of District 4, plan 1, as collectively amended, including the amendments of Councilman Kell and myself, go forward...

    Mayor O'Neill: It has been moved and seconded...

    Councilwoman Kell: That I'm now going for the amended 4th district plan.

    Councilman Carroll: That's right.

    Mayor O' Neill: Yes.

    Councilwoman Kell: Only.

    Mayor O'Neill: No, you are voting for the city plan plus the amendments.

    Councilwoman Kell: You know, I never thought of myself as being a ditzy blond, but I'm starting to think so. The legal department, do you see what I'm trying to do here?

    Asst City Atty Mahood: What you would like to do is support the District 1 plan except for the change in the park, I'm just trying to figure out, you do not want to support the entire District 4 amended plan, or do you?

    Mayor O'Neill: We have worked this evening on a plan for the city, and then we have modified it about six times. We have modified the 4th district plan. The last modification was the one that you agreed to. So you have the motion for the 4th district plan, plus the modifications we discussed this evening, including the one that you brought forward.

    Councilwoman Kell: Could I ask the City Clerk, can I see that vote for the citywide plan again?

    City Clerk Powell: ...The "no" votes were Lowenthal, Kell, Grabinski and Webb. That was the main motion.

    Mayor O'Neill: Councilman Carroll made the motion; the second can come from Councilwoman Kell.

    Councilwoman Kell: And that includes the amended portion of the area that goes into the 5th district, as amended.

    Mayor O'Neill: Yes, but it includes that.

    Councilwoman Kell: And then I second this with the amended portion between the 4th and 5th district.

    Councilman Carroll's amended plan then passed on a 6-3 vote (Yes: Baker, Colonna, Carroll, Kell, Richardson-Batts, Shultz; No: Lowenthal, Grabinski, Webb)

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