L.A. Redistricting: Tom LaBonge's District 4 Looks Like a Losing Matador
This is the third chapter in a (badly Photoshopped) series on the L.A. Redistricting Commission's gerrymandered new voting districts. Previously:
"Eric Garcetti's District 13 Looks Like an Evil Squirrel"
"Bernard Parks' District 8 Looks Like a U.S. Army Tank"
This has to be a joke, right? City Council District 4, as drafted by the increasingly unpopular redistricting commissioners, stretches about 10 miles across Los Angeles -- beginning on the gritty (if gentrifying) Eastside, meandering through the extravagant Hollywood Hills and ending up in the center of the Valley, which might as well be another country.
It took us a good minute to make sense of this absurd stratus cloud, but we finally realized...
... we were looking straight into the eyes a losing matador. The charging bull, the scuttling Spaniard, the swooping red cape -- it's all there. And now we can't picture CD 4 as anything else!
The man-versus-beast imagery is especially appropriate because Silver Lake and Echo Park (taking the show as the bull's bootylicious hind parts) are completely at odds with the Valley types on the northwest pole of City Councilman Tom LaBonge's revised district.
"The only common thread here is the Canadian geese that migrate from the Encino Reservoir to the Silver Lake Reservoir," LaBonge himself told the Los Angeles Times last month.
And a Lake Balboa florist chimed in, proudly airing her stereotypes: "The movie stars with their little poodles sashaying down the street. They have nothing in common with people here."
Douglas Johnson at the Rose Institute had a similar critique. "District 4 wanders here and there and everywhere, picking up random neighborhoods that have essentially nothing in common," he told LA Weekly's Hillel Aaron for a big print piece today on gerrymandering.
The district may have been gerrymandered before (see below, in light blue), but this is a whole new Flubbergate.
During secretive redistricting meetings, our theory is that LaBonge -- a bubbly, likeable politician who doesn't really have the brainpower to scheme up scandalous land grabs -- basically got screwed from all sides by everyone else.
Councilman Paul Koretz snatches some of the economically booming Wilshire/Miracle Mile area off CD 4's bottom half, Councilman Eric Garcetti carves a golden sliver off its right side -- and all LaBonge gets in return are a bunch of stupid trees.
Not to mention a divided group of constituents whose needs will be impossible to consolidate.
Which brings us to another fascinating gripe about the new CD 4: The Hancock Park Homeowners Association is horrified to find themselves severed from the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council area.
Though they're trying to be as PC as possible about the beef, Hancock Park residents have told us anonymously that they believe Councilman Paul Koretz of CD 5 is splitting up their community to please a handful of orthodox Jews.
In a "til death do us part" email manifesto today, Cindy Chvatal-Keane, president of the homeowners association, writes:
Hancock Park developed in the 1920's, is one of the oldest and most well-preserved neighborhoods in Los Angeles. We are proud of the historic integrity of our 1,200 homes and the ethnic diversity among our neighbors.
We are part of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council that has boundaries of Melrose to the North, Western to the West, Olympic to the South and La Brea to the West. We have common goals of preservation and honoring diversity.
We would like to remain in our historic and traditional Council District 4 along with our neighbors in the very compact GWNC, our community of interest. We are very strongly opposed to any division of our neighborhood or Neighborhood Council.
And unlike pissed-off Koreatown, this wealthy (largely Jewish) population usually gets what it wants from L.A. politicians.
So our matador might not last long. Which is technically a good thing -- though we admit, we were kind of starting to get attached to the thing.