A coalition of Latino groups drawing a reapportionment plan for Los Angeles school board districts mistakenly put board members Julie Korenstein and Roberta Weintraub in the same San Fernando Valley district, where they would have to run against each other.
But the coalition plans to rectify the error before the incumbents get annoyed enough to fight the plan.
"We'll be trying to fix it," said Marshall Diaz, a veteran political activist and chairman of the coalition, which hopes to create two districts that would be dominated by Latino voters. There is only one now.
"We want as few incumbents as possible mad at us," Diaz said.
Korenstein agreed. "We don't want that," she commented Wednesday on the possibility of having to run against Weintraub.
Although the Los Angeles City Council must approve the school district reapportionment plan, it is expected that City Hall will take into account the wishes of the seven-member school board.
On the other hand, the Latino Redistricting Coalition of Los Angeles expects to be heard too.
Diaz and Alan Clayton, a deputy to state Sen. Art Torres (D-Los Angeles), its research chairman, say that they'll file a lawsuit charging discrimination if their remap plan is not adopted nearly intact.
But boundaries can be drawn to keep Korenstein and Weintraub in separate districts, Diaz said. The coalition submitted its redistricting proposal to a City Council committee last month and can change it at its option.
The glitch that put both board members in the proposed school board District 6 occurred because the coalition believed that Korenstein, who represents District 4, lived in the heart of Northridge.
The coalition drew a new District 4 that stretched from Lassen Street on the north to Los Angeles International Airport on the south, believing that it included Korenstein's home.
"That's where we thought she lived," Clayton said, pointing to the northernmost tip of the Korenstein-district-that-wasn't.
Only later did the coalition learn that Korenstein actually lives in the Porter Ranch area--2 1/2 miles north of the district it had drawn for her and inside the district intended for Weintraub.
Diaz and Clayton said they will draft a revised plan that would stretch the District 4 another three miles to the north, all the way from LAX to Korenstein's home, a span of about 25 miles.
"Ohmigod. Unbelievable," Korenstein said of the revised plan. "I really can't imagine it. It would take an hour or two to go from one end to the other."
Noting that both redistricting plans--the original and the revised one--have her representing the Westside communities of Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Venice, Mar Vista and Westchester, Korenstein said she thinks the board's current political boundaries are more logical.
Those boundaries split the school system at Mulholland Drive between the Valley and the rest of the city. The Valley, in turn, is split between Korenstein's district west of the San Diego Freeway, and Weintraub's to the east.
"I really think Valley seats should be represented by Valley people," Korenstein said.
Despite her misgivings, Korenstein said she would seek reelection to even a radically redrawn district if she must.
Under the coalition's plan, Weintraub's district would be the only one situated wholly within the Valley. Weintraub, who lives in Sherman Oaks, did not return numerous phone calls about the redistricting issue.
Parts of three other districts also would be in the Valley, including Korenstein's District 4. Also partially in the Valley would be District 3, now represented by board member Jeff Horton, and District 5, represented by board member Leticia Quezada. Instead of having two all-Valley districts, there would be one district entirely in the Valley and the remainder of the Valley would be divided among districts that reach south of Mulholland Drive.
Quezada's Latino-dominated District 5 is now on the Eastside. Under the Latino remap plan, her district would remain grounded on the Eastside but also would stretch north along a narrow corridor to include the Latino areas of Pacoima, San Fernando and Sylmar.
The remapping would create a new Latino-dominated district in central Los Angeles, South Gate, Cudahy and nearby communities.