Saturday, September 30, 2023
Saturday, September 30, 2023
Saturday, September 30, 2023

Proposal for Reforms to Address Corruption in Los Angeles City Council




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A group of esteemed academics has presented a series of recommendations to tackle the persistent scandals plaguing the Los Angeles City Council, Your Content has learned.

In light of recent felony charges brought against yet another council member, the need for change has become urgent.

The Los Angeles Governance Reform Project, comprising scholars supported by philanthropists, was established following the revelation of leaked recordings that exposed council members engaging in racist discussions during redistricting talks.

Ange-Marie Hancock, co-chair of the reform group and a professor at the University of Southern California, emphasized the pressing nature of the moment for reform.

The group intends to propose these reforms to voters on the November 2024 ballot.

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At present, the redistricting process, which shapes the representation of neighborhoods, is controlled by City Council members.

To address the chaos that unfolded after the leaked recordings, advocacy groups like The League of Women Voters and Catalyst California argue for the establishment of two independent redistricting commissions.

These commissions would be composed of diverse city residents and would focus on drawing city council districts as well as districts for Los Angeles Unified School District Board members.

Notably, California already operates an independent redistricting commission for state legislative maps.

Kathay Feng of Common Cause, a government watchdog group, stressed that these reforms would restore faith in the governance system by reducing the concentration of power and ensuring broader representation.

The second recommendation by the Los Angeles Governance Reform Project is to increase the number of city council seats from 15 to 25.

Out of the 25 seats, 21 would represent specific districts, while four would serve at-large.

This hybrid system, already adopted in cities like Seattle, Houston, Atlanta, and Philadelphia, as well as California’s state redistricting commission, has proven effective in enhancing representation and accountability.

The group’s third recommendation focuses on strengthening the authority of the city Ethics Commission.

This would involve preventing the council from amending proposals offered by the ethics commission and granting the commission the power to directly place its recommendations on the ballot.

Such measures aim to enhance accountability within the city government.

While these proposed reforms are not guaranteed to be adopted, the Los Angeles Governance Reform Project plans to gather community feedback and conduct a city-wide public opinion survey to gauge residents’ and voters’ sentiments.

Following this process, the panel will review the suggestions, make necessary adjustments, and eventually propose the finalized language for the 2024 ballot.

To ensure their inclusion on the ballot, the group may also gather voter signatures.

Michael Li of the Brennan Center for Justice in New York, an expert on redistricting, recognizes Los Angeles’ unique position as a hub for multiracial politics.

As ethnically diverse populations increasingly inhabit the same voting districts, the city is witnessing new conversations on shared representation and the formation of coalitions.

The leaked recordings underscored the complexities of determining political representation in a city with nearly 200 spoken languages.

Sara Sadhwani, a scholar on the reform committee and member of the state’s redistricting commission, sees an opportunity for change arising from the backlash against the leaked recordings.

She acknowledges the flaws in the current system and emphasizes the importance of building a power-sharing framework that aligns with Californians’ values of living together in coalition.

The proposed reforms aim to address corruption, enhance representation, and promote accountability within the Los Angeles City Council.

By embracing these recommendations, the city has the opportunity to establish a fairer and more inclusive governance system that reflects the diverse population it represents, according U.S. News.

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