Names are important to us – they carry much of our identity, and neither people nor places tend to change names often or without very good reasons for doing so. The same is true for the borders that define named places…like the borders of our city’s City Council districts, which at this very moment are undergoing their once-every-10-years review and re-drawing. For many people “redistricting” is a term that makes their eyes glaze over and the heads turn away. But this year, for residents of the Greater Wilshire area, the word “redistricting” is raising antennae and hackles for a variety of reasons.
First, redistricting this year is especially important to the area served by the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council because, while our historic borders (in some cases going back nearly 100 years) are Melrose on the north, Western on the east, Olympic on the South and La Brea on the west, this territory is currently split among three different City Council districts (4, 5 and 10), which makes it difficult to build relationships to deal with various city matters.
At last night’s GWNC meeting, there was a long discussion about the issue, and the council passed a resolution calling on the city’s Redistricting Commission to re-unify the area within the borders described above in a single city council district.
Another reason redistricting is very important RIGHT NOW is that Koreatown, our neighbor to the east, is also very actively campaigning to unify its area within one city council district (for the same reasons the GWNC is doing so). But while the city’s official border between Greater Wilshire and Koreatown is and always has been the middle of Western Ave., the Koreatown business community is pushing to draw the official western border of a unified Koreatown district at Arlington, Crenshaw…or even La Brea.
If you can, please contribute your voice to the redistricting process by going to http://www.redrawla.org which will allow you to draw a map of an area you’d like to see kept together within a city council district) or e-mailing the redistricting commission at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak up in favor of maintaining a unified Greater Wilshire area – bordered by Melrose, Western, Olympic and La Brea – within one city council district as the new lines are drawn.
“Redistricting” may be a rather boring word…but uniting and maintaining our historic community, under its historic name, is of great interest to all of us.
[Update: 1/13/12, 5:00 p.m. — Koreatown business leaders confirmed this afternoon that the community is strongly advocating in the redistricting process that the western border of Koreatown remain at Western Ave., which aligns with the GWNC’s request. For more on the redistricting process, see “Greater Wilshire and Koreatown Boundary Reuqests in Alignment” and “Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council Needs Your Help at Wednesday Redistricting Meeting.”]