Op-Ed: Fair and independent redistricting? Los Angeles County does it already — that’s what.
By David Corn
Updated April 22, 2014 at 10:53 PM; April 22, 2014 at 10:53 PM
WASHINGTON — One reason that federal redistricting reform has dragged on for so long is that California has made a relatively quick and largely free transition from a one-member district plan to what is essentially a multimember district plan.
Los Angeles County, which is home to the nation’s most populous city — home to nearly 400,000 people — and millions of other residents, and which is comprised of more districts than any other jurisdiction in California, went through this kind of reform in 1991 and 1992. But Los Angeles County is hardly typical.
So let’s look at what the Los Angeles County redistricting reform process looked like. It was a quick and largely free, if not entirely democratic, transition to the multi-member, majority-vote district.
Here is what happened in Los Angeles County:
On Jan. 1, 1995, Los Angeles County voters approved Proposition 227. It was a half-cent sales tax for the purpose of funding a new school system in Los Angeles County. Voters also approved a one-cent sales tax to pay for all public education in Los Angeles County.
The county’s school districts were geographically separate until 1994, when they became a single unit known as Los Angeles Unified School District, which was a single-member county district with seven elected members — seven members of the Los Angeles Unified School Board.
In addition to the seven L.A. Unified School Board members, the County of Los Angeles had two appointed members – the Commissioner of the Department of Water and Power, and the Commissioner of the Department of General Services.
The County of Los Angeles was divided into seven districts called LA County Supervisorial Districts. They were geographically separate — meaning that only one district was in L.A., but the other six districts were in different counties. The LA County Supervisorial Districts became LA County Government Districts on Jan.