The City of Los Angeles Redistricting Commission held its final meeting on redistricting, which could result in parts of USC being represented in two districts, on Wednesday in the John Ferraro Council Chamber at City Hall.
Hundreds of residents and community members filled out comment cards and waited for their turn to voice their concerns to influence the final vote of the proposed district maps.
Redistricting occurs every 10 years and this year 21 members of the city’s redistricting commission have made alterations to the current district map. The Los Angeles City Council must approve the new district map by July 1.
USC, which is currently in City Council District 8 represented by City Councilman Bernard C. Parks, might be split into two districts under the newly proposed district map.
The University Park Campus and neighboring Exposition Park, including the Coliseum, would move to City Council District 9 represented by City Councilmember Jan Perry. Off-campus student housing to the north and west of campus would remain as part of District 8.
Thomas Sayles, senior vice president of university relations, said at the public hearing that USC should remain in one district.
“All other universities in this city are in a single district,” Sayles said. “It just makes sense.”
David Galaviz, executive director of local government relations at USC, said the university’s desire to be in one district is not politically driven.
“As an academic institution focusing on academic research and educating students, we are not taking a political position on redistricting,” Galaviz said. “We’re not pushing to be added to any district or to be taken out of our current district. We just want to be in one district. All other universities in Los Angeles are in one district. USC would be the only one split among districts.”
Twenty-two public hearings have taken place across all current city council districts since December 2011 and more than 4,500 comments have been submitted by Los Angeles residents.
Each speaker at Wednesday’s public hearing was allowed one minute. Some residents pushed for changes to be made in redistricting, such as those to Benedict Canyon, while others spoke against proposed redistricting for Downtown Los Angeles.
Perry, the District 9 representative, said she was against the newly proposed redistricting.
“The newly proposed lines are troubling and unnecessary,” Perry said. “[The commissioners] have not listened. I speak today that you have made a mistake.”
Lark Galloway-Gilliam, an employee of Community Health Councils Inc., located in District 9, said the commission failed to recognize the economic effects of the proposed redistricting.
“You have to understand the political and economic conditions,” Galloway-Gilliam said. “The proposed district changes for [District 9] seek to isolate and disenfranchise communities.”