Redistricting Divides Local Communities

By Justin HAGER

The months-long process of drawing boundaries for new federal, state and county legislative districts is complete and while the process requires compromise and is always contentious, Glendale, La Crescenta and Burbank will experience especially dramatic changes.

At the federal level, congressional boundaries shifted only slightly to the south, but the small change will have significant ramifications for the Crescenta-Cañada communities. Under the boundaries of the newly drawn 28th and 30th Congressional Districts, La Cañada Flintridge and the eastern unincorporated area of La Crescenta will no longer be represented by Congressman Adam Schiff, but instead will be represented by Monterey Park Congresswoman Judy Chu. In return, Schiff will be gaining some new territory in Pasadena and Los Angeles that include some well-known neighborhoods and landmarks such as the Rose Bowl, Universal Studios, West Hollywood, the La Brea Tar Pits and LACMA. Under the new maps, Schiff’s District will be renumbered to be Congressional District (CD) 30 while Chu will represent CD 28. Schiff announced his candidacy for election to the new CD 30 on Jan. 3.

At the state level, a showdown is brewing between Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) and Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-Van Nuys). Friedman currently represents the 43rd Assembly District, which includes Glendale, Burbank, La Crescenta, La Cañada Flintridge and Sunland-Tujunga. Nazarian currently represents the 46th Assembly District, which includes Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Van Nuys and North Hollywood. However, both members, along with Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, currently reside within the boundaries of the new 44th Assembly District. Rivas, who represents the 39th Assembly District, has already announced that she will move into the newly redrawn 43rd District, which encompasses about 70% of her current district, including Sun Valley, Pacoima and San Fernando. But Friedman and Nazarian have both announced their intent to seek election in the new 44th.

The new 44th is a behemoth stretching across the south central and south eastern portions of the San Fernando Valley from the 405 on the west through Sherman Oaks, Valley Village, Studio City, North Hollywood, Toluca Lake, Burbank and North Glendale to the border of Pasadena. The new district also includes La Crescenta, Montrose, Sunland-Tujunga and Shadow Hills. The race is likely to be among the more hotly contested in California in 2022, not only because it is a Democratic incumbent vs. Democratic incumbent, but also because neither member has a clear incumbency advantage from the voting population of their current district. Friedman currently represents Burbank, the largest community in the new 44th, but is losing the bulk of Glendale, the city she resides in and has served in various public capacities since 2005. On the other hand, much of the new district’s boundaries include the regions of Nazarian’s 25 years of public service, including his time as an assemblymember and as an aide to former councilmember and Assemblyman Paul Krekorian and Congressman Brad Sherman.

Redistricting will also impact the local region’s representation in the State Senate. While Anthony Portantino still resides within the boundaries of the new 25th Senate District and will continue to represent the 25th District until 2024, Sunland- Tujunga, most of Burbank and portions of Glendale are no longer represented by Portantino. Those communities are now part of longtime California legislator Bob Hertzberg’s new 20th Senate District. Hertzberg was first elected to the Assembly in 1996, served as speaker of the Assembly from 2000-02, and returned to the legislature as a senator in 2014. He currently serves as the senate majority leader. Hertzberg will be termed out of office in 2022, setting up a rare open seat in a newly created district. Herztberg’s son, Daniel, has already declared his intent to seek his father’s Senate seat.

Many effects of the Senate redistricting won’t be felt until 2024, though, when due to term limits, redistricting, a judicial appointment, and election for higher office, Laura Friedman may be the only sitting state legislator residing within the redrawn 25th Senate District.

The one area of representation that will remain mostly stable for local communities is representation on the county board of supervisors. While there were some significant changes in the boundaries of the 5th Supervisorial District, none of them prompted a change in representation for our readership area.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger released a statement about the new maps.

“Redistricting is about balance. In a County as big as ours, with over 10 million residents, the redistricting process is important because we’ve had a lot of growth and change in the last decade. I’m glad that I’ll continue to represent the northern portions of the County as well as the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valley foothill communities. These areas have a shared commitment to environmental priorities, and I will continue to champion their equitable access to County resources and services.”