Redistricting Comm'n Advances These Two Maps (Clearer Graphics + Data Details) To Likely Nov. 18 Adoption, If Approved Will Affect LB Elections For Next Ten Years
(Nov. 12, 2021, 3:45 a.m.) -- In an action that will affect Long Beach elections for the next ten years, on Nov. 10 LB's non-elected Redistricting Commission advanced two maps, one of which it will likely impose as the final Long Beach Council district map at the Commission's Nov. 18 meeting. (The Commission could scheduled an additional meeting to tweak or select another map, but this would require nine affirmative votes.)
On Nov. 10, the Commission, without dissenting votes, advanced its November 3 map with amendments (now called "Map 1"), plus a second map with tweaks to Map 1 (now called "Map 2"). The two maps are similar in major respects but with some neighborhood impacting differences.
Both maps attach ELB's CD 5 to areas west of Long Beach Airport in Cal Hts and part of Bixby Knolls. At the Nov. 10 Commission meeting, Eastside Voice president/-founder Corliss Lee was the only podium speaker to support keeping CD 5 basically intact and opposed extending CD 5 to physically disconnected areas west of LB Airport that now span nearly the entire city.
Both maps expand CD 4 northward to take large parts of what had been CD 5 including El Dorado Park South neighborhoods. Reform Coalition Exec. Dir. Ian Patton and former CD 8 Councilwoman Rae Gabelich supported the Nov. 3 map despite its decimating ELB portions of CD 5.
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Under a 2018 City Charter amendment (ostensibly to minimize or prevent political influence in drawing district lines), the Commission is legally required to respect communities of interest and geographically contiguous areas. Some have questioned whether stretching CD 5 to connect physically separated areas west of the Airport violates that principle. The sole legal remedy in the City Charter amendment to challenge the ultimately adopted map is a court challenge (petition for writ of mandate.)
The Commission is legally prohibited from considering the residences of any elected official or other individual in drawing district lines, but redistricting is ultimately about elections and political power and the Commission's actions will have immediate political consequences.
The Commission's two maps both eliminate CD 5 incumbent Stacy Mungo and previously declared challengers Gerrie Schipske and Michelle Dobson from the 2022 election cycle (unless they move their residences.) New CD 5 candidates are expected to surface in the coming weeks from within the newly drawn 5th district.
CD 4 incumbent Daryl Supernaw now takes El Dorado Park areas and El Dorado South neighborhoods. He doesn't face re-election until 2024.
The Nov. 10 map re-connects part, but not all, of Bixby Knolls, tweaking part of Commission's Nov. 3 advanced map. The Nov. 10 maps puts highly affluent Virginia County Club and Los Cerritos areas into CD 8 which stretches "north of the RR tracks" into NLB. Downtown hospitality and Port interests got what they wanted: two representatives for their interests with the two districts split at Pacific Ave. CD 1 (previously a working class area north of downtown disproportionately impacted by shootings) was expanded to include the western part of the Port. The move will effectively assist CD1 incumbent Mary Zendejas who will now have access to potential campaign contributions from Port-related interests as she seeks re-election in 2022. CD 2 was stretched to cover the eastern part of the port (including Queen Mary) and downtown entertainment areas. CD's 2 incumbent Cindy Allen doesn't face re-election until 2024, when she would have to relocate her LB residence to part of newly drawn CD2.
Both maps prioritize reuniting Wrigley, which was split in a bitter 2011 Council-engineered gerrymandering. A decade later, reuniting Wrigley strengthens the political base of CD 7 incumbent Roberto Uranga who faces re-election in 2022. (Reform-minded challenger Carlos Ovalle is among Uranga's early challengers.) The focus on Wrigley and WLB was supported by Councilman Uranga's wife, former CD 7 Councilwoman Tonia Uranga and by the Wrigley Area Neighborhood Alliance (WANA). At the Nov. 10 Commission, meeting, the Wrigley Ass'n submitted a letter seeking to have CD7's eastern border extended past Pacific Ave. to LB Blvd.) (The new maps now draw the CD 6/7 border at Pacific Ave.)
The Commission spent considerable time hearing passionate public testimony pro and con over splitting portions of Bluff Heights/Bluff Park/Carroll Park areas between CD 2 and CD 3. A final decision won't come until Nov. 18.
A map advanced by a group fronted by one-term (2016-2020) Council censured former CD 2 Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce, that would have restored Ms. Allen's LB residence to a newly drawn CD 2 (dubbed Map 2.2.) was supported by multiple speakers who said they worked in LB's hospitality industry. It would also have quietly erased the residence of CD 5 community advocate Corliss Lee from CD 5. The Commission didn't discuss Map 2.2.
Western North Long Beach neighborhoods (including Coolidge Triangle) objected to being split in both maps into CD 8 separating them from eastern NLB areas in CD 9.
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