One day after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for a Jan. 22 election in a new 1st District, Los Angeles County supervisors Tuesday began making arrangements to represent their new, court-drawn districts.
Files have to be swapped. Signs in district offices have to be changed. New maps must be printed.
Supervisor Ed Edelman proposed a Jan. 1 date for completing the transition, while Supervisor Deane Dana proposed Jan. 22, to coincide with the election. A decision was put off until Tuesday.
Technically, new supervisorial district boundaries have been in effect for a month, but the supervisors have continued to represent their old districts--the ones found by the courts to discriminate against Latinos.
The supervisors were waiting to see if the Supreme Court would hear the county’s appeal in the voting rights case. The high court Monday refused to postpone the Jan. 22 election but did not act on the county’s request for a hearing.
Dana and Edelman said the supervisors should not wait.
“I am up for reelection in about 18 months,” Dana said. “I certainly would like to get to know my constituents before I run.”
Edelman added: “It is time to put this litigation behind us once and for all so that we can get on with the pressing business of county government.”
The new political map, drafted by civil rights groups and approved by U.S. District Judge David V. Kenyon, shifts supervisors to many new neighborhoods.
Dana said he needs to become familiar with his new 4th District, which picked up part of the San Gabriel Valley from Supervisor Pete Schabarum.
“I know absolutely nothing about the area out there,” he said.
Edelman’s 3rd District lost East Los Angeles to the 1st District, represented by Schabarum. Edelman also gained Malibu and Santa Monica from Dana and more of the San Fernando Valley from Supervisor Mike Antonovich.
Antonovich’s 5th District, which still includes Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena, moved farther east into the San Gabriel Valley to pick up neighborhoods in the old 1st District.
Supervisor Kenneth Hahn’s 2nd District picked up Compton from Dana.
Richard B. Dixon, the county’s chief administrative officer, said of the transition: “It is just a bureaucratic housekeeping that we have to do so when we say to a supervisor, ‘This is in your district,’ we’re saying it to the right supervisor.
“We all have to re-educate ourselves to show that a project in Hacienda Heights now is in District 4 instead of 1 and a project in Bunker Hills is in 1 instead of 3,” Dixon said.
Antonovich was out of the country and could not be reached. A spokesman said Hahn supports completing the transition Jan. 1.
Schabarum, who is retiring, showed little interest in the changes. “I have a substantial agenda that is going to be pursued by me and my office to March 8,” the date when Schabarum’s successor is expected to take office. “Whether they change the boundaries or whatever they do doesn’t mean one damn thing to me.”
By law, district lines are used only for voting purposes. Customarily, supervisors govern their huge districts like fiefdoms, deferring to the supervisor of the district on purely local matters.
It is unclear what effect the changes will have on projects or services. One likely result is a change in the pace of development in neighborhoods shifting from Antonovich and Dana, who are regarded as pro-development, to Edelman, a slow-growth advocate.
Dana demonstrated Tuesday how his work is cut out for him in adjusting to his new district. During an interview by a reporter for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, which is circulated in the eastern San Gabriel Valley, Dana asked, “Where is the Daily Bulletin?”