Cambodian Community Rally For Measure DDD (Redistricting Comm'n) Distributes Lawn Signs Also Supporting Measures AAA, BBB and CCC; AND Equity for Cambodians Supporters Say They'll Press For Council Action Immediately -- Not Wait Until After 2020 Elections -- To Re-Draw New Council Dist. Lines For 2020 Elections In Dists. 2, 4, 6, 8 is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(October 5, 2018, 8:45 a.m.) -- A kickoff rally in LB's Cambodia Town for Measure DDD (would create a Redistricting Comm'n) drew about 40 people to the MAYE Center on E. Anaheim St. at late afternoon Thursday (Oct. 4) who heard opening remarks by Mayor Robert Garcia and 8th dist. Councilman Al Austin -- who exited together before audience Q & A -- along with statements supporting DDD by Common Cause (Sylvia Moore) and LB's League of Women Voters (Kimberly Ritter)...and ended with offering residents lawn signs supporting all four Mayor-sought Charter Amendments (AAA+BBB+CCC+DDD.)

The meeting focused almost entirely on Measure DDD, although at one point Equity for Cambodians leader Charles Song stated in Khmer (and later translated for us) that the community should vote "yes" on all four Charter Amendments. If LB's Cambodian community votes in a unified citywide manner for DDD and also votes to support the three other measures, it could produce a sizable numerical boost for AAA (Auditor duties), BBB (allowing Mayor/Council 3 terms instead of 2 terms + write-ins.) and CCC (Mayor-chosen/Council approved "ethics commission")

[Scroll down for further.]

And Equity for Cambodians supporters dropped a political bombshell: attorney Marc Coleman said that regardless of the outcome of Measure DDD, the group intends to press the City Council to begin the redistricting process immediately (as sought in a previous community petition) and not wait until after the 2020 election cycle (under measure DDD) to re-draw Council district lines but instead to impact the 2020 elections in Council districts 2, 4, 6 and 8 and "put this area [Cambodian community] into one district."

In response to a follow-up question from, Mr. Coleman said after the measure came forward, Councilman Daryl Supernaw (whose western part of the 4th dist. includes a sizable portion of the Cambodia Town) approached Equity for Cambodians, asked what the group wants, and indicated he believes their cause is just and should be pursued. Mr. Coleman said Councilmembers Uranga and Pearce have also been in favor of this "so we believe we can move forward and get the votes necessary."

Mr. Coleman, left, with translator

Asked about the Mayor's position, Mr. Coleman said he wasn't sure but Ms. Som indicated "the Mayor is in full support of this." (By that time Mayor Garcia and Councilman Austin had left, preventing an immediate follow-up.)



Among those present in the audience was LB Reform Coalition participant Juan Ovalle, who asked [paraphrase] if Measure DDD was "fools gold" (not a "gold standard" as its proponents contend) because the Redistricting Comm'n would include individuals pre-selected by the Mayor/Auditor if voters enact Measure CCC (creating a Mayor/Council chosen "ethics commission" with an alternative screening-panel chosen by the Mayor, if Measure CCC doesn't pass.) Attorney Marc Coleman politely replied [paraphrase] that while DDD isn't perfect, it is a very strong measure to accomplish overdue redistricting reform and noted for the largely Cambodian community audience that the type of adversarial question posed by Mr. Ovalle, who is an acknowledged opponent of all four measures, is an understandable and acceptable part of the civic process.

Earlier in the meeting, Mr. Coleman detailed the history of the redistricting effort, noting that discussion began in a class he was teaching that noted two LB Council districts were created years ago, in effect, to empower politically LB's African-American and Latino communities (6th and 1st districts respectively) but excluded LB's Cambodian community (whose voting power is currently split between four Council districts.) Mr. Coleman noted that when Mayor Garcia brought the Redistricting Commission measure forward in June, he and Equity for Cambodians supporters strongly opposed it as then-proposed [as it would have still allowed Council gerrymandering of district lines] but subsequent meetings with the Mayor's office resulted in revised text that he and Equity for Cambodians now strongly support.

In earlier remarks to the group, Mayor Garcia took credit, and was later publicly credited by Mr. Song, with having responded to a question during the 2014 Mayoral campaign in which Garcia committed to support redistricting changes for the Cambodian community. In their Oct. 4 remarks, Mayor Garcia and Councilman Austin both said the process has been ongoing for several years while omitting mention that the process produced text as initially agendized by Mayor Garcia that Equity for Cambodians strongly opposed.

Mr. Song publicly credited attorney Coleman, Ms. Som and Alex Norman, PhD for their roles and said without their efforts the redistricting measure wouldn't have advanced as it has now.




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