CA Attorney General announces investigation into L.A.’s redistricting process
The process sits at the center of the now national scandal that exposed racism on L.A. City Council.
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In the days following the Los Angeles City Council scandal in which resurfaced audio of now-former L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez, along with Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, and union leader Ron Herrera, who has also stepped down, made derogatory and racist comments towards the Black and Latino community, all parties have faced major backlash from residents, city leaders, and even President Joe Biden.
Martinez has now resigned as President of City Council, while Cedillo and de León still have not resigned from their positions.
With growing calls to make a change, the California Attorney General announced on Wednesday, Oct. 12, that the state Department of Justice will investigate Los Angeles’ redistricting process, along with the racist comments made. The redistricting process was a huge part of the nearly one-hour leaked conversation secretly recorded in October of 2021.
“The leaked audio has cast doubt on a cornerstone of our political processes. We will endeavor to bring the truth to light to help restore confidence in the process for the people of our state,” Bonta said in a statement Wednesday. “As a father and a human being, I am deeply appalled by the remarks made by some of Los Angeles’ highest-ranking officials. Their comments were unacceptable, offensive and deeply painful. There is no place for anti-Black, antisemitic, anti-indigenous and anti-LGBTQ, or any kind of discriminatory rhetoric in our state, especially in relation to the duties of a public official.”
In the days since this past Sunday when the audio leaked, City Hall has hosted multiple council meetings with the next set for today, Oct. 12, but it was forced to shut down as protestors flooded the chambers and shouted down members. The meeting was rescheduled for this upcoming Friday.
“The decennial redistricting process is foundational for our democracy and for the ability of our communities to make their voices heard — and it must be above reproach,” the statement from
Bonta continued. “My office will investigate to gather the facts, work to determine the truth, and take action, as necessary, to ensure the fair application of our laws.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the redistricting conversation last year zeroed in on how the council district boundaries should be redrawn in addition to how the council could maintain Latino political power, as well as help the Latino community.
"It could lead to criminality if that's where the facts and the law dictate," Bonta added. "There's certainly the potential for civil liability based on civil rights and voting rights laws here in the state of California."
Bonta mentioned that the process "is just starting and we don't like to make conclusions first and get facts later." The investigation will determine the outcome, he said, but made it clear that it could also lead to changes at the state or local level in regards to policy.
Martinez represents District 6, which includes Van Nuys, Lake Balboa, North Hills and Panorama City, among other neighborhoods.
De León represents District 14, which includes Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, Downtown LA, and El Sereno. Cedillo represents District 1, which includes Highland Park, Chinatown, Mount Washington, Echo Park, Elysian Park, Westlake, Koreatown, Lincoln Heights, and MacArthur Park.