LA City Attorney Mike Feuer urges city council to put redistricting reforms on ballot

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer is urging the City Council to call a special election next spring that would ask voters to amend the city’s charter so that an independent redistricting commission can redraw the current council district map.

Feuer’s proposal is in response to the latest scandal to rock City Hall after leaked audio over the weekend revealed that three councilmembers and a powerful labor leader held a private meeting to discuss how the district maps might be redrawn in their favor. The conversation took place last October as the city was going through its redistricting process, which is typically done every 10 years.

Feuer, who previously ran for mayor, had proposed during his mayoral run that the city’s redistricting map be drawn by an independent body whose members aren’t appointed by city officials.

“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,” Feuer said during a news conference Wednesday, Oct. 12, during which he renewed his calls for an independent commission.

“We need to act with urgency right now. We have an emergency in our city. We need to begin to heal. We need to restore faith in the redistricting process, in city government, in city leadership,” he said.

He proposed that the city contract with the county of Los Angeles to use its independent redistricting commission process as soon as possible. City officials would not get to appoint members to the commission, as they do now, nor would they have the ability to veto any of the commission’s decisions, Feuer said.

The city attorney also called on the council to place a larger series of reforms on the ballot in 2024 that would include adopting the city’s own independent redistricting commission process moving forward.