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Black Vote Disenfranchised in Pre-Draft Maps

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Special to The Black Voice News –

As millions of Americans put out their flags and fired up the grill to celebrate freedom and democracy over the 4th of July weekend, Commissioner Connie Galambos Malloy of the California Redistricting Commission fired a salvo at African American voters in Los Angeles as she penciled them out of their traditional community districts and hard fought political power.

Malloy, who is from the San Francisco Bay Area, committed her dastardly deeds with stealth and incredible disrespect for African American electoral participation, creating serpentine, meandering and totally nonsensical districts. This was done while most Californians were enjoying their holiday festivities and not paying attention to political intrigue. Was this intentional?

One of the priorities of the 14 member redistricting panel is to draw new maps that are based, in part, on how people define their "community of interest." The Commission is charged with upholding the interests of all of California with greater citizen input than has ever occurred.

However, in her hacking up of South Los Angeles, Malloy showed no concern for the interests or inputs of African Americans, whose courageous historic struggle for voter rights have empowered all ethnic minorities.

Instead, Malloy proposes to gut Black political power from the State Assembly, Senate and Congressional Districts without regard to a unified proposal with ethnic groups.

She has removed Exposition Park, Harvard Park, Vermont Knowles and Vermont Square from legislative districts with historically high African American voting populations in order to group them with the cities of Vernon, Huntington Park and unincorporated Florence-Graham.

This configuration creates Latino majority Assembly and Congressional seats, but leaves African American districts anemic.

In the Senate, she has drawn a district that stretches from Exposition Park to the City of Lakewood in order to create a Latino majority district.

In the middle of Los Angeles, she took half of Black Los Angeles (east of Arlington Ave, South of the 10 Freeway, North of Century Blvd) and drew it into a district with Vernon, currently represented by the Speaker of the Assembly, a Latino who lives in Downtown LA.

Then, she took the other half of Black Los Angeles and added it in with areas that stretch all the way to Ventura County. How does this honor the traditions of our area?

The immediate impact of Malloy’s map if adopted would destroy a historical coalition district that has had African American representation since the middle of the 20th Century and dilute African American political power to accommodate something even Latinos did not ask for. During Sunday’s conversation, two Commissioners from the Los Angeles Area (Maria Blanco and M. Andre Parvenu) suggested that the cities of Vernon and Huntington Park be removed and connected with natural communities of interest with south eastern cities such as South Gate and Cudahy.

If she followed the directions of the Commissioners from the Los Angeles area, the line drawn will be in sync with the wishes of many Black and Brown Angelinos who wish to see their political power not only maximized, but also unified.

The consequences of the current pre-draft map are many. One of the most startling is that as a result of divorcing Exposition Park and the Vermont areas from their neighbors, the Crenshaw based Congressional and State Senate Districts must find population elsewhere is West Los Angeles.

In Malloy’s skewed vision, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Malibu Topanga and Calabasas all the way to the Ventura County border are grouped with everything south of the 10 Freeway, West of Arlington Ave and North of Inglewood.

Despite the Commissions best intentions, as represented in its first draft and the mapping proposals submitted recently by a African American, Asian American and Latino citizen groups, African Americans appear to come up short, are neutered politically in their strongest areas and are left with the perception that such plans of are not invested in Black Los Angeles thriving.

We have the opportunity to address the misshapen trauma that occurs with the Exposition Park and Vermont Areas by contacting or writing the Commission directly and letting them know we will not stand for this current pre-draft map that disenfranchises the most concentrated Black political voices in the state.

To submit a public comment to the commission, call us toll free at 1-866-356-5217 or send us an e-mail directly to votersfirstact@crc.ca.gov

Citizens Redistricting Commission
901 P Street, Suite 154-A
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: (916) 651-5711

If we do not respond to this threat to our collective power, we cannot complain or rush to sue when the final maps leave Blacks divided, attached to unfriendly neighbors and in search of leadership that will have difficulty responding to our concerns.

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