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PUNKED: California Redistricting Further Isolates Hawaiian Gardens

January 6, 2022

By Brian Hews

On December 8, 2021, the California Redistricting Commission drew a draft map of the Congressional districts, placing tiny Hawaiian Gardens, 78% Hispanic, with affluent White and highly Asian Orange County cities in the new 45th Congressional District.

The Commission used the same twisted logic in the Senate and Assembly Districts.

“Are you kidding me?” said Hawaiian Gardens Councilwoman Myra Maravilla.

In the beginning, the Commission set its guidelines stating it wanted to put groups of Californians living in “communities of interest” on equal footing with cities and counties when it came to drawing the lines.

The Commission also stated it wanted to follow the Voting Rights Act and empower voters in communities that have been historically discriminated against.

They did neither with the one-square-mile City of Hawaiian Gardens, approving districts that appear punitive and that further isolate the City and its residents.

 

45th Congressional District.

 

 

Communities of interest? The 45th Congressional District has cities that do not match Hawaiian Gardens; highly Asian communities of Buena Park, Fountain Valley, Westminster, and Garden Grove.

Voting Rights Act? The racial makeup of the Congressional District is only 23% Latino, which would dilute the level of representation that Hawaiian Gardens will have in Congress. Access to bilingual resources and topics that matter most to the community, like affordable healthcare, immigration reform, and more, may become nonexistent.

There was a much better option, the 42nd Congressional District.

 

 

The 42nd Congressional District.

 

Communities of interest? The 42nd includes a part of Long Beach and Lakewood, both of whom border Hawaiian Gardens. It also includes cities easily accessible by Hawaiian Garden’s residents using the 605 freeway, the major north/south freeway slicing through central Los Angeles county.

Voting Rights Act? South Gate, Downey, Bell Gardens, Bell, and Huntington Park are in the 42nd and average 51.2% Latino, more aligned with Hawaiian Garden’s racial makeup of 78%. Bell Gardens, Bell, and Huntington Park average 80% Hispanic.

Looking at the map, the Commission could have easily moved Hawaiian Gardens into the new 45th, and no one would have objected, and the City would have been in a much better position.

Thoughtful? Moving HG into the 42nd would have moved the City on the other side of the San Gabriel River, creating a perfect border between the two districts.

That is the way it is with HG, ignored (except by this newspaper), highly Hispanic and in the gray area of Los Angeles, always treated like the shoemaker’s stepchild.

But the Commission was not done, applying their same twisted logic to the new 67th Assembly District HG was thrown into.

 

The 67th Assembly District

 

Communities of Interest? Hawaiian Gardens is included with Cypress and Fullerton and Buena Park, 14 miles away.

Voting Rights Act? The District is only 30.2% Latino, and Hawaiian Gardens skews that number with their high Hispanic population.

Like the Congressional District, there was a much better option, Assembly District 62.

Communities of Interest? The City is currently in Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s District 62, often seen in the City because his office is right next door in Lakewood.

Voting Rights Act? District 62 is made up of 68.2% Latino.

Finally, the Commission completed the Punk, by putting HG in Senate District 36.

 

Senate District 36.

 

Communities of Interest? Hawaiian Gardens is included with the xenophobic Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Fountain Valley, and Westminster.

Voting Rights Act? District 36 is 35.2% Latino.

Like the Congressional and Assembly Districts, there was a much better option, Senate District 33, which is very similar to Assembly District 62.

I guess the Commission had an obsession with the San Gabriel River.

Sadly this is how the City has been treated for decades, known as a gang-infested drug hub in southeast Los Angeles.

But in the past few years, the City has been cleaning up its problems, beefing up the safety budget and building on the community policing concept; as a result, crime and drug-related arrests are down.

To throw HG into the new districts further isolates the City, likely getting visits from only the elected official’s representatives and not the elected official, who would treat the City as an outcast.

“We made hundreds of hard choices,” said Commissioner Russell Yee, an Oakland Republican, “and we try to spread the pain and gain as thoughtfully as fairly as we could.”

Spread the pain and gain? Hawaiian Gardens residents certainly feel your “pain spread” Mr. Yee, and they don’t think it was a gain.

HMG-CN does not think you were close to being “thoughtful.”

“We Draw the Lines,” was California’s motto in the redistricting process, it should have been “We Draw Blind Racist Lines.”

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