New Districts Proposed for LAUSD Board Members

by Howard Fine

The redistricting of the L.A. City Council may be getting a bigger share of the headlines, but dramatic changes are being considered in the drawing up of new districts for the seven-member LAUSD Board of Education.

Three plans have been put forward by the LAUSD Redistricting Commission, and, in all three, Board President Caprice Young and maverick board member David Tokofsky see their districts almost entirely moved.

"In order to have two all-Valley seats and to keep the (Genethia Hayes) seat in compliance with the Voting Rights Act (with a large African-American block), we had to shift these two districts around," said Coby King, spokesman for the 15-member redistricting commission.

Young, whose district currently straddles the Hollywood Hills from Sun Valley on the north to Hancock Park on the south, could have her district moved entirely into the San Fernando Valley, becoming one of the two Valley-only districts. This would be a blow to Young, who has spent much of her time tending to schools in the Hancock Park/Los Feliz area, particularly the Ambassador Hotel property.

Tokofsky, whose current district snakes down the eastside of the San Fernando Valley and Downtown, from San Fernando to Boyle Heights, would have his seat moved entirely to the area immediately northeast and east of Downtown. For Tokofsky, though, the change may not prove as traumatic, in part because he has already won two elections by appealing to the majority Latino residents in his district.

Nothing is set in stone. Due to a quirk in state law, the new districts must be approved by the L.A. City Council, not the LAUSD board. Moving State Primaries

As if the state primary picture weren't confusing enough, two statewide business groups, the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Business Roundtable, are spearheading an effort to move the gubernatorial primary from March to September.

Chamber President and Chief Executive Allan Zaremberg said last week that the two business groups were supporting SB 1975, authored by Sen. Ross Johnson, R-Irvine, as an attempt to boost voter interest and reduce general election expenditures.

"The March primary is too far away from the general election for voters to take real interest," Zaremberg said.

Trouble is, the move would likely add to voter confusion. That's because this measure would not only apply to gubernatorial primaries held every four years, but also to presidential election years. In presidential years, there would actually be three elections, the presidential primary, now held in March, the September primary for all other local, state and federal races, and the November general election.

Staff reporter Howard Fine can be reached by phone at (323) 549-5225, ext. 227, or by e-mail at

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