The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved an ordinance that sets out the City Council electoral lines for the next 10 years, drawing criticism from the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

APALC, a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, and Asian American leaders and community members testified as to the location of six Asian American “towns” in Los Angeles and stressed the importance of keeping each town whole, as keeping together communities with shared interests allows them to express their undivided political voice regarding city policy issues.

APALC also submitted a citywide mapping proposal that essentially kept each town whole while balancing other interests.

The approved redistricting map was developed by an advisory commission of political appointees followed by a final decision by the City Council.

“While we appreciate that the city redistricting decision-makers kept most of the Asian American towns whole, we are disappointed that the new City Council map divides Koreatown,” said Joanna Lee, senior research analyst at APALC. A record number of Koreatown residents had testified and asked the redistricting commission and City Council to keep the Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council whole.

During the redistricting process, stakeholders and commentators noted the influence politics had played in the drawing of the City Council lines. In sharp contrast, the state redistricting commission could not take politics into consideration, and APALC and its partners were able to successfully advocate that all the Asian American towns in Los Angeles be kept whole in the new Assembly, State Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives districts.

“When you take politics out of the redistricting equation, communities have a better chance of remaining whole since they do not have to compete with political interests,” noted Deanna Kitamura, senior staff attorney at APALC.

The following is a summary of placement of six Asian American towns in Los Angeles:

Little Bangladesh is kept whole in Council District 10.

Thai Town is whole, with the greater Thai Town area in Council District 13.

Little Tokyo is whole in Council District 14.

Historic Filipinotown, as defined by the community, is whole in Council District 13.

• The core of Chinatown is whole and with Lincoln Heights in Council District 1.

• For the city redistricting process, the Koreatown community defined itself as the Wilshire Center-Koreatown Neighborhood Council, which is split between Council Districts 10 and 13. The split separates the residents in the northern portion of WCKNC (in Council District 13) from Koreatown’s financial base (in Council District 10).

Maps showing each town and the new and old district lines are reproduced above and can also be downloaded here.

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