California Atty. Gene. Rob Bonta said Wednesday that his office would investigate the Los Angeles redistricting process that took place last fall, saying an inquiry is needed to “restore confidence” in the line-drawing of the city’s 15 council districts.
The announcement comes days after The Times published a recording in which then-council President Nury Martinez is heard making racist remarks while talking with fellow Councilmembers Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo and labor leader Ron Herrera about how the city’s council district boundaries should be redrawn. This conversation focused on how the group could maintain Latino political power while also ensuring they and their colleagues would have districts that help them win reelection.
“We’ll be conducting our investigation, and when it’s full and thorough and comprehensive and complete, we’ll have something to share about what liability there might be, either civil or criminal,” said Bonta, a former member of the state Assembly who was appointed attorney general last year.
Bonta said his office had reviewed information — which he didn’t detail — and the law “to determine whether we feel we have a good-faith basis to launch an investigation.”
“And after conducting that process and completing that process — it was not complete yesterday, but it’s now complete — we believe we have a basis … for an investigation,” Bonta said.
Calls for resignations and government structural reforms reverberated across LA after the leaked audio surfaced.
A group of 30 civic leaders sent a letter Wednesday to act City Council President Mitch O’Farrell asking for the council to support a ballot measure to amend the City Charter to create an independent redistricting commission.
At one point in the recording, Herrera, head of the LA County Federation of Labor, is heard telling the councilmembers: “My goal in life is to