Op-Ed: Fair and independent redistricting? Los Angeles County does it already, and Los Angeles is a very important player in the redistricting process. So the County should be careful what it wants.
While California’s redistricting cycle is more than 80 years old, the county’s system is a relatively new phenomenon.
For the first time in its history, every legislative district in Los Angeles County has a majority population change. And every district is a safe minority district.
Los Angeles County is a very important player in the redistricting process. It used the nonpartisan “L.A. County Redistricting Commission” to create hundreds of new legislative and congressional districts.
The commission makes it harder to gerrymander by encouraging candidates to raise awareness of the potential costs. And it doesn’t hold on districts created by more than two people for more than 30 days.
“They’ll say, ‘You’re not allowed to hold seats for more than 30 days,’ ” said former County Supervisor Hilda Solis. “They’ve actually encouraged people to run in certain districts that they don’t want.”
The commission uses an independent redistricting consultant and pays the consultant $500 an hour.
That consultant works with the County Board of Supervisors. So when voters approved Proposition 6 to end gerrymandering in 2002, the redistricting consultant was on the job.
And the consultant has been paid more than $2 million.
“I was on the Commission and the consultant kept coming, and he was really good at doing what we were doing,” said Supervisor Hilda Solis.
The consultant takes issue with the County Board of Supervisors taking a percentage of the money for the commission. But this would cost the County far and away more than the $500 an hour to work with the consultant.
“There’s no other job I can think of where you’re not paid a set per hour,” said former County Supervisor Mike Antonovich. “How can you stop him? And they don’t.”
The consultant insists he’s not a lobbyist. But other consultants, such as those at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard, have been paid at least $100,000 by the