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Opinion: LAUSD Redistricting Commission Needs to Hear From You

Despite hundreds of thousands of people included in District 4, Commissioner Lindsey Horvath says few West Hollywood residents have offered their feedback on the new district boundaries.

How and where districts are drawn can shape communities' abilities to elect the representatives of their choice. Districts must be made as equal in population as possible and practicable so that communities have equal access to political representation.

Every 10 years, districts are redrawn to account for population changes. A special commission made up of elected board members of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is tasked with advising the Los Angeles City Council on the creation and adoption of a redistricting plan.

Fifteen people are appointed to the Commission: four by the Mayor of Los Angeles, four by the Los Angeles City Council President, and one by each of the seven LAUSD board members. I was appointed by former City Council President Eric Garcetti to serve on this Commission.

Factors that the Commission must consider when drawing the lines include the protection of communities of interest and the Voting Rights Act of 1965—federal legislation that outlaws discriminatory voting practices used to disenfranchise voters based on race or color. Communities of interest are geographically connected populations that share common social and economic interests.

To ensure that the Commission is meeting these and other legal requirements, there have been noticed meetings and public hearings that include testimony from the public for the Commission's consideration when drawing the lines.

Currently, the City of West Hollywood is included in District 4. However, District 4 does not contain all of the schools serving the City of West Hollywood. As a result, city officials, parents and students may need to work with two different board members to address concerns they have within LAUSD and their children's schools.

Based on feedback from the community, the expressed goal of the West Hollywood City Council was to unify all of the LAUSD schools serving West Hollywood into one District through the redistricting process. This goal is something for which I have advocated - and continue to advocate - for as a Commissioner.

On Feb. 7, a public hearing for District 4 was held to provide members of the community with an opportunity to address Commissioners before draft maps were drawn and circulated. Despite having hundreds of thousands of people included in the District, only four members of the public chose to provide comment on the process at this meeting, none of whom lived within the City of West Hollywood.

The Commission has since approved three maps for circulation. Each map is intended to spark discussion and elicit feedback from communities on the best ways to draw the boundaries. Maps A & B would divide schools serving West Hollywood between the newly-drawn Districts 4 and 5.

The map proposed by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Education Fund & Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) would divide schools serving West Hollywood between the newly-drawn Districts 1 and 4.

On Feb. 15, I proposed a motion to request a 30-day extension for the LAUSD redistricting process in order to allow ample time for additional input from the community. Despite receiving the support of 50 percent of the 14 voting Commissioners, the motion did not pass, which means that final maps must be completed within two weeks to submit to the Los Angeles City Council.

As a result, the final regional public hearing for Districts 1 and 4 is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. at Hamilton High School. The final regional public hearing for District 5 is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 20 at 1 p.m. at Hollenbeck Middle School Auditorium.

These public hearings are intended to focus on testimony regarding specific Districts; however, all comments will be heard and entered into the record. The Commission will then meet on Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. in the LAUSD Board Room downtown to determine a final draft map to submit to the Los Angeles City Council for approval. A final map must be submitted by March 1, as required by
Los Angeles City Ordinance.

I encourage the residents to share your opinions with the Commission to ensure that your voice is heard. You can submit testimony to the Commission through the website - http://redistricting2011.lacity.org/ - or by emailing redistricting.LAUSD@lacity.org  - or calling 213-473-5961. You can also draw your own maps to submit to the Commission through the Advancement Project's website - www.redrawlausd.org.

—Lindsey Horvath, LAUSD Redistricting Commissioner

joninla February 17, 2012 at 03:44 PM
No encouragement needed for me to give my feelings on the issue of LAUSD carefully taking the time to redraw the district lines to make sure the communities served are Protected. Children have been systematically RAPED by at least 2 teachers at one local elementary school. What little is know about the extent of this horrific molestation that went on for years without any 'knowledge' or ability to have a system in place that would bring any potential CHILD ABUSE BY A LAUSD TEACHER to their attention before any more children are abused in their school all under LAUSD. I am disgusted and offended that the 'power brokers' in the LAUSD are not even trying to feign an public appearance that the seriousness of the alleged crimes are understood and being addressed appropriately by the LAUSD. How can you re-draw district lines, when the entire current system is so fundementally flawed that the current RAPE of Children went on for years unnoticed, and is being dealt with as something to hide, rather than an all out joint effort of every person, employee and teacher to immediately implement a redundant policy of no child alone with a teacher, until some appropriate policy can be implemented to prevent such a disgusting action (of nobody 'knowing anything about the problem" until now) can continue and all Criminal Charges be brought against any teacher past, present and future who is found to have molested/raped or touched any child in the LAUSD.
MarkD February 17, 2012 at 04:05 PM
It will be interesting to see if you get any productive feedback.
Ana Nana Mouse February 17, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Having two boardmembers for West Hollywood might be better than having 1. Given the level of effort required, why not have two people representing the City?
Jeffrey Prang February 17, 2012 at 08:45 PM
West Hollywood has been extremely well served by Board Member Steve Zimmer. Working with parent groups, the City of West Hollywood, and other community members, Mr. Zimmer has created a local middle school option for West Hollywood students, and our local elementary schools have become truly local schools, as opposed to commuter schools, which some were for many years. It is critical that the public schools serving West Hollywood remain in a single district, represented by a boardmember who is committed to restoring confidence in public schools. Dividing the schools between two districts will complicate K-12 planning and may result in fractured and watered-down attention on West Hollywood priorities from board members. The family of schools that primarily serve West Hollywood are: West Hollywood, Rosewood, Melrose and Gardner Elementary, Laurel Span School (K-8), Bancroft Middle School, and Fairfax High School. Jeffrey Prang Mayor Pro Tem West Hollywood
joninla February 17, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Having no knowledge of our local system, I have to agree with you Mr. Prang to the extent that if at all possible, weho retain exclusive control of at least one or more primary schools. Having no children myself, nonetheless, property values are greatly impacted by the school district the property is located in. My idea (a suggestion with no audience some time ago) was that WeHo should invest a significant sum to create at least one school in the WeHo District only that is unique and can be known for (for example) the most technologically enriched school in all of los angeles. Or the best teacher/student ratio or the only school with a fully funded "Performing Arts Program". For example a $1 million dollar investment to create a landmark super school, will increase the property values for every home and apartment in the district, and create many times over the $1 Million Dollar investment back in the increased property value. ($1 million was just a round number example). Beverly Hills property value is so high due in part to it's known excellent school system and BHHS being the most desired high school in greater L.A. We can't compete with BH, but an elementary school with such credentials, next door to Beverly Hills will benefit both property owners and tenants who are already in WeHo and entitled to whatever is left of rent control benefits.
joninla February 17, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Before everyone starts the "how will it help the renters?". The existing renters and residents of weho will retain their apartment, and the landlord will have the incentive to invest in improving the entire building with the ability to rent the vacant units at a higher than average market rate for people willing to pay a little more so their child could get a chance at a decent education. Yes, eventually all units will age out of the rent controlled system. But a guarantee (I believe already in place) to existing residents for their units, will prevent the real fear of becoming homeless, while being able to live in an apartment that is not falling apart, or even so bad as to be condemned. For example the currently Named Chamberlain Hotel has been redone several times recently and now is a very pricy boutique hotel. I have not heard anything recently, but as of a year or two ago, there were still 5-6 units with the original tenants, at $500 a month rent, now living in a posh almost $500 a night deluxe hotel. It can happen, if done properly. But fighting the unavoidable eventual loss to any new residents coming to weho the same rent control benefits the city once had, will just keep the deteriorating number and quality of existing apartment on it decreasing spiral down and fewer in number.
Wendy February 17, 2012 at 11:22 PM
LAUSD sucks. If you watch what they are doing with your money you will see that they only build schools in Mexican Neighborhoods. They are also creating a Huge Police Department that is unneeded. They actually give out traffic tickets today. They are creating this huge new Police Department so they can control and cover up sex crime allegations with teachers. This way they can say we went to the Police Department when it is really a fake police department created to control their public image. They are working on creating a sex crimes unit right now so the LAPD and Sheriff are not asked to investigate anymore. If you create your own police department then you get to call the shots on who to investigate and who to drop.
joninla February 18, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Ms. Horvath - I don't mean this with any mean spirit, but I only recently started to pay attention to weho politics. I missed the entire period during which you were part of the Council. I don't understand what was really behind the motivation, but the actions and conduct afterwards to use the City to smear your name after leaving office was so inappropriate and objectively disgusting behavior of the weho City Council (which, however, seems in line with their over-all pattern of offensive misuse of their elected positions with such contempt towards the residents who just try to give input). I am not saying I agree or disagree with anything you made decisions on while in office (I am ignorant of anything during that period of time), but irrespective of whatever happened while in office, I find the on-going smearing of your name (or a story about a second had anonymous person who may have seen your car with a city permit, written to sound like guilt, when it actually clarified nobody knows if there was even an anonymous person in the first place). Can you shed light on what behind the scene ego-maniacs who have run this city for so long, they seem to actually believe they are the owners of the city & can dispose of city assets/land 'as they feel like doing. Currently I default to favoring anyone the City Council dislikes, and am against any suggestion (such as here with LAUSD) due to a pattern on undisclosed self-serving motives for each decision made. Any insight?
MarkD February 18, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Ah Wendy, precisely the kind of response I've come to expect from you. It wanders everywhere, but manages to avoid the issue at hand entirely. Your use of the term "Mexican Neighborhoods" alone tells me that you don't even understand the questions that need asking, how could you possibly help us get to a productive answer?
MarkD February 18, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Pardon me, Jon, but please give us some specific examples of "the actions and conduct afterwards to use the City to smear your name after leaving office." How exactly has "the City" done this?
joninla February 18, 2012 at 05:56 AM
First off, I am not saying she is not in fact due a share of contempt or not. I just wonder how a hand picked political appointment by the 'all knowing all powerful' John Heilman turned so quickly into such a hostile situation. That is the first red flag that something is up. Specifically, I can recall the article accusing her of using her 'park anywhere permit' that is only given out to the most important 300+ City Employees. The person who was credited with having seen (and recognized her car) and it using it after leaving office, made a statement that he never did make any such statement. Be that as it may, how and why was a story written about it anyway. Weho's Parking Enforcement is notorious in frequency and thoroughness in ticketing any car without a valid permit. End of story IF she was still using it. But I would hardly equate any misuse of a parking permit to the Multi-Million dollar never ending projects that nobody seems to notice have several glaring obvious issues that I would call improper, at the very least. I also question what was behind the story about her receiving text message answers to question asked by Dante Atkins, sitting in the audience. That story stuck out in my mind because of its stupidity, but it made me think that they were saying she was incapable of answering questions. Perhaps, they just didn't like her answers, and were pressing her to follow the agreed "party line". I no clue, but would line to know something.
joninla February 18, 2012 at 11:30 AM
However, despite my awareness about any of the details of Ms. Horvath's brief period of time on the Council, I would have to say any and all shortcoming, mistakes, or lack of knowldge regarding perfroming the position are all on the shoulders of the Council, against the residents objections, insisted on there being no elction and the appointment being made by the City Council alone. Wheather she made a mistake or two, or if she was the worst person to every hold office in the City of West Hollywood .... Again ... She was appointed. I gather she applied along with many other candidates, was interveiwed and the decsion was made the same way that the City Council regularly makes decisions. I am not surprised to hear that the decions made by the City Council had undesirable consequences for the City and Ms. Horvath, since there is a repetion of pattern in preventing knowledge about decsions to be made, and the information that gets out is immedately addressed as something the CIty Council has full and abosolute power and decsions making authroity - and is always acting the the best interest of the City. The choise of an appointed is no different, other than it ought to have an even more inensive serious reveiew to appoint the right person for the job. Just one more fully owned mistated made by the City Council, and dismissed when the results become known.
joninla February 18, 2012 at 11:40 AM
are you referring to my comment? It wouldn't be interesting at all to see if I get any productive feed back. It wouldn't be interesting to see if I get any feed back. It would be a shock commesurate to the countless number of comments I have made as a FIRST EVER serious attempt to respond. A few have tried a white wash dismissal of everything I commented and apparently struck a cord with someone, but when I follow through in response, there has been an immediate deletion of any and all reference to to any feedback I sersiously intend to be productivie or else corrected by an actual knowledgable authority on the incorrect belief contained in a comment. So interseting to see, no. A coronary grade shock if anyone responsed with something other than a cuss/slur at me personally.
MarkD February 18, 2012 at 05:48 PM
My comment was directed toward the writer of this piece, Lindsey Horvath, not at you Jon.
MarkD February 18, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Jon, nothing you cite, from what I can tell is an example of "the actions and conduct afterwards to use the City to smear [Lindsey's] name after leaving office." Nothing you've mentioned is an action of "the City."
joninla February 19, 2012 at 04:45 AM
Well given my lack of knowledge about her or her time in office, I am under the impression that she was disliked by the City Council that appointed her. All of which came long after her departure and stupidity of the story aside, the use of the Parking Office and its records to make an assertion about misusing a parking permit after leaving office. That's a misuse of a virtually non-measurable amount of city resources. However relative to the utterly insane issue the City made over a parking permit, it becomes a bit more overdone and excessive effort - which the parking patrol should have or would soon find and deal take appropriate action without involving the City Council members or the necessity of making a news story about it. (2 stories I think I recall).
Wendy February 19, 2012 at 06:10 PM
LAUSD completely sucks. I will say it again to Mark D., LAUSD only builds and spends money in the Latino neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Take a look at East Hollywood, Downtown Los Angeles and the East San Fernando Valley. That is where all the taxpayer money goes. LAUSD is run by Latinos so they take care of Mexicans first. Everyone knows that. I have not been tolerance Brainwashed so I just tell it like it is. Some people cannot handle reality. Latinos take those white dollars from the west side and build multiple schools just blocks from each other. Take a Look at East Hollywood High and Le Conte. Take a look at North Hollywood High and East North Hollywood High. Romer Middle School. Show me anything new built where white people live?
MarkD February 19, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Wendy, there are simple demographics at work. New schools have been built in neighborhoods where the population was under-served and where families are having more children. Period. All of the neighborhoods you mention have ethnically mixed populations. And demographics of Los Angeles show that the composition of neighborhoods can change rapidly. Further, you show your limited view of the world -- you've completely left out any new schools built in South Los Angeles or any of the neighborhoods to the east of downtown Los Angeles, which are becoming primarily people of Asian descent. Once again, Wendy, you demonstrate that your wild opinions and ranting have no relationship to empirical facts -- just your own very twisted personal observations. I respond to you not out of any delusion that I can help you think differently about what you say, but to provide actual facts for people who read your rants.
Wendy February 20, 2012 at 03:41 AM
I don't give a crap about demographics. I will say it again. LAUSD only spends money where Latinos live. They take the dollars from the where the white populations live and give nothing in return. They give nothing to West Hollywood other than rearanging some old chairs in schools built years ago. You need to wake up and quit drinking the coolaid. They spare no expense where the latinos live. They have new schools going up every so many blocks with new pools. Latinos run LAUSD and Latinos get the new schools. That's how it works. People take care of their own first. If you do not think so try moving into a Latino neighborhood and find out how fast you ejected. The cops will even be mad at you. They do not put back in the white communities. Those schools have not been updated in over 40 years. They get by because people like yourself are afraid to call it like it is. Latinos run Los Angeles and LAUSD. Part of the reason rents are going up in West Hollywood is because white families have been run out of other parts of Los Angeles. The Gay community looks pretty good to them. They are not going to get their tires cut and kids beat up. All of the adult education has turned to English ESL on the west side for the most part. Go look at any Night classes listed and I dare you to find anything that pertains to Americans who live in the area. Try to find any Technical schools run by LAUSD in Hollywood or the West Side.
MarkD February 20, 2012 at 08:19 AM
You're a sad, bitter, out of touch, racist woman. I pity you and pray for you. "I don't give a crap about demographics." No, you don't. You never let actual facts crowd your bigoted opinions.
Wendy February 20, 2012 at 06:04 PM
No you are the racist. Your a self hating far out left wing loon. LAUSD does not build any new schools in the west side or anywhere where white people live. LAUSD is tribal. At least I am not a wimp and can speak out for unfairness. Demographics don't mean crap. Demographics are for liars. That does not justify stealing from the west side and reinvesting all in the east side. White people cannot even send their kids to public school anymore. Those are the real demographics. The only one out of touch is you and those who have been brainwashed to expect less. Pity and Pray for yourself first. Your facts suck. During the civil war they had house servants who were against the field workers getting freedom. You are sort of a house servant for LAUSD. In your world white American students should always be secondary choice in learning behind illegal alien family students and get whatever leftover bones they throw at you. That is the justification behind your demographics and why the west side has the crappiest schools in the district. I ran into a guy like you the other day. He told me that there was no such thing as an illegal alien. I pulled out a pocket dictionary and showed it to him. He told me that the dictionary was wrong. Are you the same person?
MarkD February 20, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Amazing... You just continue to prove my point over and over. You're a bigot and a racist. And you clearly hate it when people identify you for what you know yourself to be. You must really, really dislike yourself intensely. My pity and my prayers on you.
Ali February 21, 2012 at 01:21 AM
HAAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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