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Opponents of new LA political boundaries vow to take their fight to the City Council

Councilwoman Jan Perry surrounded by more than 40 of her constituents expressed their disapproval towards the recently released redistricting map.
Hayley Fox / KPCC
Councilwoman Jan Perry is among others who disapprove of the new redistricting map.

Expect another fight over political boundaries in the Los Angeles. The L.A. City Council Redistricting Commission approved new boundaries Wednesday, after weeks of raucous public hearings. But the plan must still be approved by the Council, likely next month.

Korean-Americans are among those vowing to take their case to the council.

"I really think that it's a shame," Ben Juhn of the Korean American Coalition said. "We want Koreatown kept whole, and that's been ignored."

Under this plan, Koreatown is split into two city council districts. Activists argue that dilutes Korean-American power in a city that's elected only one Asian-American to the City Council.

Some Latino activists expressed concern, too. They worry they'll have less of a chance to elect a Latino in the Ninth Council District, which would stretch south of downtown where African-Americans vote in large numbers.

Councilwoman Jan Perry represents the Ninth now. She, too, is angry the map eliminates much of downtown from her district, but for different reasons.

"They've created an impoverished district," Perry said. The Ninth would mostly include South L.A. Perry cannot run for re-election next year because of term limits, but she is running for mayor.

Perry has suggested Council President Herb Wesson orchestrated the change to punish her for not supporting him for president. Wesson has not responded.

Councilman Jose Huizar, who is close allies with the mayor, would gain much of downtown from Perry. "I also think it's an asset grab," Perry said.

Huizar has said it makes sense for more of downtown to be in one council district, and he is best able to represent it in the 14th. Perry vowed to fight the change.

That may be difficult. Wesson is not only president of the council, but he also chairs the rules and elections committee that will consider the redistricting proposal.

The map also consolidates the wealthier black neighborhoods of Baldwin Hills, Leimert Park and Crenshaw into the 10th Council District. Wesson, who represents that district, is the beneficiary.

Some residents of Leimert said they were happy with the change because it places more African-Americans with similar interests in one district. Others said they were dissatisfied with Councilman Bernard Parks, who represents the area now.

Parks has complained Wesson is punishing him, like Perry, for not supporting him for council president.

Some San Fernando Valley activists also complained about the map. They'd lobbied for more council districts to reside completely in the Valley, and not stretch into the L.A. Basin. Under this map, two still cover both Valley and Basin neighborhoods.

The City Council is scheduled to consider the new map next month.