L.A. County supervisor redistricting debate draws packed house

More than 800 people packed the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration Tuesday to weigh in on a redrawing of voting districts for the Board of Supervisors, which governs the most populous county in the nation.

The crowd filled nearly every seat in the building's hearing room as well as two overflow rooms. Aides said they couldn't recall such a turnout since the 1991 inauguration of Supervisor Gloria Molina, the first person of Latino heritage to be elected to the board in modern history.

On the redistricting question, the supervisors appear to be deadlocked. It takes four of the five board members to approve a new redistricting plan.

Three supervisors favor largely retaining the current district boundaries, while the two remaining supervisors -- Molina and Mark Ridley-Thomas -- favor a bigger boundary change that would make the election of a second Latino supervisor more likely.

If four supervisors can't agree on a plan, the decision will be made by a committee of Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, Sheriff Lee Baca and Assessor John R. Noguez.

Molina and Ridley-Thomas, an African-American, say a second Latino district is justified because Latinos now account for 48% of the county's population.

Among the three other supervisors, all non-Latino whites, Don Knabe and Zev Yaroslavsky have sharply criticized the effort to draw a second Latino district. Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich has not yet voiced an opinion, but his appointees to a redistricting committee expressed support for a plan resembling the quo plan. L.A. Now




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