L.A. Redistricting Process Comes Under Scrutiny as State Attorney General Launches Investigation in Wake of City Council Scandal


California Attorney General Rob Bonta has announced the launch of an independent investigation into the L.A. City Council with regard to the city’s redistricting process. The investigation comes on the heels of leaked audio revealing deeply concerning remarks tied to the city’s 2021 redistricting efforts and will seek to determine whether there were any violations of state or federal voting rights laws and transparency laws, consistent with the Attorney General’s authority under the California Government Code and the California Constitution.

“Let me be absolutely clear: The job of a public official is to serve the people. We’re elected to represent our constituents to the best of our abilities, doing the most good for the most people,” said Attorney General Bonta. “As a father and human being, I am deeply appalled by the remarks made by some of Los Angeles’ highest-ranking officials. Their comments were unacceptable, offensive, and deeply painful. There is no place for anti-Black, antisemitic, anti-Indigenous, anti-LGBTQ, or any kind of discriminatory rhetoric in our state, especially in relation to the duties of a public official.

“The decennial redistricting process is foundational for our democracy and for the ability of our communities to make their voices heard — and it must be above reproach. The leaked audio has cast doubt on a cornerstone of our political processes for Los Angeles.

To that end, Bonta says his office will gather the facts, work to determine the truth and take whatever action is necessary to ensure the fair application of our laws to restore confidence in the redistricting process.

The investigation— to be conducted by the California Department of Justice’s Racial Justice Bureau —will focus on all relevant information related to the city’s 2021 redistricting process and adopted map.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has proposed a ballot measure in the spring 2023 to utilize L.A. County’s independent redistricting commission to redraw lines before 2024. Feuer is also calling for a larger set of City Charter reforms to place on the ballot in 2024 to establish a truly independent redistricting commission.

“As hateful as the remarks revealed over the weekend were, we also need to focus on the context in which they came: redistricting. We urgently need to act to begin to heal the divisions in our city and restore public confidence in the way Council boundaries are drawn. I’m proposing an open and transparent process, free from involvement by elected officials,” said Feuer.

“It should be clear to everyone by now that if you leave in the hands of elected officials the power to determine their own political districts, this is a recipe for conflict of interest and is an invitation to backroom deals.”

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