By Barbara Jones, Staff Writer, Daily News | http://bit.ly/A9akWr
Updated: 02/15/2012 09:48:16 PM PST | Three proposed maps that would set new voting boundaries for the seven LAUSD districts were unveiled Wednesday, plans that could pit several incumbent board members against one another in upcoming elections.
The public has two weeks to comment on the draft maps, which are designed to balance population, race and common interests among the districts. The appointed LAUSD Redistricting Commission hopes to have the final version approved by March 1.
"It may be one map or the other or none that are approved," said Greg Girvan, one of 15 appointees to the commission. "If people have issues with certain aspects of the lines, we can rejigger them as we get feedback."
Among those certain to want changes is board member
Steve Zimmer, whose District 4 stretches from the southern part of the San Fernando Valley to El Segundo and east to Hollywood.
While the proposal known as Map A keeps most of his district intact, Map B shifts Hollywood - where Zimmer lives - to District 5, which is represented by Bennett Kayser.
The third map, proposed by MALDEF and the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, sets District 5 boundaries that would sweep in the homes of Zimmer, Kayser and Monica Garcia, who now represents District 2. MALDEF officials did not return phone calls.
"It feels like I am a target," Zimmer said in an interview. "It's hard for me to understand why, other than my vote to dismantle Public School Choice," which was a controversial program for dealing with failing schools.
"It's quite a bold move to draw a sitting school board member out of their district."
But Doug Wance, the commission's executive director, denied that the maps were the result of political pressure.
He said the panel had already set boundaries for most of the 710-square-mile district before it began work on Zimmer's district. And as members carved up the remaining area, he said, they made sure to include Marina del Rey, mistakenly believing Zimmer lived in the beachside community and not in the heart of Hollywood.
Under all three maps, Zimmer would retain his hold on much of the southern San Fernando Valley, although the ragged boundary that separates his district from Tamar Galatzan's District 3 would be modified to run along Ventura Boulevard.
While that would bisect communities stretching from Woodland Hills through Encino, Girvan said communities "south of the Boulevard" associate themselves more closely with the Westside.
Galatzan would lose portions of North Hollywood and Toluca Lake to Kayser. A faucet-shaped portion sweeping in Reseda High and surrounding campuses would shift from Galatzan to District 6 representative Nury Martinez, a move needed to help maintain the political clout of minority voters.
"What's most important to me is to keep together the feeder patterns of elementary, middle and high schools," Martinez said.
San Fernando Valley activist Glenn Bailey believes the commission should have tried harder to keep together neighborhood council areas.
"There are minimal mentions of neighborhood councils in the maps," said Bailey, who serves on the Encino Neighborhood Council.20120215_104657_LAUSD proposed maps