Op-Ed: Fair and independent redistricting? Los Angeles County does it already
By Peter Skopina
Updated: October 11, 2001
When California passed a $2.5 billion bond measure to finance the construction of the Transwestern Pipeline in 1992, the state legislature and the Republican-led board of supervisors of Los Angeles County decided to rebalance the districts of three of their seven counties’ at-large seat holders.
The result: the redistricting that Los Angeles County voters approved in 1992 as Proposition 198.
In Los Angeles’s at-large elections, the city’s two at-large seats are chosen by a seven-member city council and the six county seats are chosen by a five-member board of supervisors. But in L.A. County’s nine at-large seats, the only way voters could approve the 1992 redistricting plan would be to have more voters vote for the proposition than for the Republican, Democratic, or independent candidates who would be running against them. They chose the Democratic candidate in all nine at-large seats. So the outcome of the 1992 redistricting really does not reflect the choice of people in Los Angeles County.
The 1992 redistricting was approved by only 6% of Los Angeles County voters.
The other half of the 1992 County-wide election was a ballot measure voting on Proposition 198, a statewide ballot measure for the first non-partisan at-large redistricting plan in the nation. Proposition 198 passed by a margin of 77.5% to 20.5%. But this measure was non-partisan because it is a law, not a ballot initiative. Proposition 198 became non-partisan last November when the California Supreme Court invalidated the 1992 redistricting plan and declared this redistricting plan to be the official state-wide plan.