By Linh Tat at the Los Angeles Daily News
The Asian American and Pacific Islander community had a strong showing during a Los Angeles City Council committee meeting this week to discuss proposals for increasing the number of council seats and redistricting reforms in the wake of a political scandal the last time City Council boundaries were redrawn.
Members of the public and the OUR LA coalition, many of whom represented the AAPI community, told the council’s governance reform committee that the number of council districts should increase from 15, the current number, to a range between 23 and 31. That range was based on an analysis by OUR LA, a coalition of community-based organizations and racial justice advocates which presented its recommendations to the committee.
Speakers who addressed the committee during the Thursday, Aug. 10, meeting noted that despite being one of the fastest-growing groups in L.A., there is no council district currently where AAPIs make up more than a quarter of the voting-age population.
For example, Council District 10, represented by Councilmember Heather Hutt, includes Koreatown – one of the largest concentrated AAPI communities in the city – as well as Little Bangladesh. Still, Asians make up just 17.5% of that district’s voting-age population who are U.S. citizens compared to 32.6% for Latinos and 32% for Blacks.
Juily Phun, a professor at Cal State L.A. and a member of the Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment, said there cannot be racial equity without inclusion of the AAPI community, which she said makes up 12% of the city’s population and is rapidly growing.