Immediately upon becoming Council President, Paul Krekorian created the Ad Hoc Committee on City Governance Reform to consider changes to our City Charter and Municipal Code. The committee is studying long overdue improvements such as reducing the size of Council districts, updating the municipal lobbying ordinance, reforming the land use and permitting process, and creating a truly independent redistricting process to end the poisonous cycle of backroom dealing exposed in the notorious audio recordings released last year.
AN INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING PROCESS
Long before that recorded meeting became public, Councilmembers Krekorian and Raman had sought a new and truly independent redistricting process. Their motion to do exactly that could not even get a hearing under the previous Council leadership, but when Councilmember Krekorian was elected Council President it became one of his first orders of business.
Pursuant to the Krekorian/Rahman motion, the Chief Legislative Analyst has now produced an exhaustive report on the available options for both redistricting reform and reducing the size of Council districts. The Ad Hoc Committee is also consulting with groups like Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, Catalyst California and the L.A. Governance Reform Project, a consortium of political science experts from six universities, before it crafts a set of Charter Amendments to place on the ballot next year. The Committee’s upcoming meetings, all open to the public, will be held not just at City Hall but at locations in the Valley, the Westside, and South L.A. to maximize public input.
A truly independent redistricting process, as envisioned by Council President Krekorian and the Ad Hoc Committee, will bar lobbyists, and current or former elected officials and their staff from serving on the redistricting commission, and remove the Council from any involvement in selecting commissioners, communicating in any way with the commission, and drawing or approving any Council maps. “The voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around,” said Council President Krekorian.
The Ad Hoc Committee will draft a proposed amendment to the City Charter that will go on the ballot next year. The decision to adopt the new redistricting process will rest, as it must, with the voters of Los Angeles. A separate proposal will offer voters the choice of reducing the size of Council districts to allow more direct interaction between the Councilmembers and their constituents, create a higher degree of accountability, and assure more diverse representation for all of the communities in our city.
MUNICIPAL LOBBYING REFORM
The City’s Municipal Lobbying Ordinance (MLO) has not been revised in over 20 years and the Committee is also developing important reforms to this ordinance. The goal of these reforms is to ensure that those who are paid to advocate before the city clearly identify themselves and disclose their efforts to exert influence. These reforms will bolster the ability of the Ethics Commission to enforce the MLO and more rigorously impose its prohibitions on a variety of lobbyist activities.