Widespread chatter about the ongoing redistricting process prompted a special meeting of the Los Al Council to get their thoughts on the record and assure citizens about what is not going to happen.
In a special meeting Nov. 8, Mayor Mark Chirco said the special meeting had been called to provide input to the commission redrawing the lines. The special commission authorized by California voters has been doing its work and draft maps were causing much concern in Rossmoor and Los Alamitos.
The California Redistricting Commission have since issued draft maps, which are to be finalized by Dec. 15, according to the commission’s website, www.wedrawthelinesca.gov.
“I’ve been asked by many members of the community about this,” said Chirco. “I think some of the communications have, unfortunately, have not been as factual as they could be.”
Chirco said some citizens have asked him “are we becoming part of L.A. County; is Los Alamitos going to cease to exist?” “No,” he said, Los Alamitos is not becoming part of Long Beach.
The mayor said redistricting is “a very fluid situation.”
“I just looked at the maps and it looked like our senate district was going to be completely in Orange County. Our congressional district was going to be predominantly in Orange County versus currently it’s predominantly in Los Angeles County and includes Los Alamitos and Rossmoor,” he said.
“And our assembly district, which currently is in Orange County, was going to be predominantly in Long Beach now that I’m looking at it. I’m looking on the website. It looks like the assembly district is now completely within Orange County, at least the current drawing. It has Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, and it looks like parts of Newport Beach as well. But, of course, this is all subject to change.”
Chirco said the intent of the meeting was “to express our position that we would like the lines to be drawn in a manner that keeps us with other cities that are similar in size and culture.”
Mayor Pro-Tem Shelley Hasselbrink said she felt like having Orange County representation was critical to the city’s future.
“We predominantly get all of our services from the County of Orange,” she said, whether it’s Fire Authority, the Sheriff’s Department within Rossmoor, Orange County Transportation and it would seem very unlikely that if we had an issue surrounding something like that, that a representative based primarily in L.A. County that they would even understand, or would even care,” said Hasselbrink.
Council member Tanya Doby said there was so much “misinformation and misunderstanding,” that she wanted to make clear in whatever communication was to be issued that the city would remain within the Los Alamitos Unified School District. She said since there was so much talk about having Los Al in the Long Beach district, some citizens have assumed LAUSD would have to merge with Long Beach Unified.
School districts are separate than representative districts, but Doby said people are concerned because they do not fully understand.
In addition, she wanted to make sure concerned residents would have access to wording that could help them write a letter to the commission if they chose to do so. “People or more likely to submit written thoughts if they get a little assistance in putting words to it,” said Doby.
Chirco said the resolution would be posted on the internet and citizens are free to refer to it. Also, he encouraged citizens to visit the commission’s website and make their views known under the public comment section.
The Council voted unanimously to send their resolution to the Commission.