Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 40



to redistricting

Wajenda Chambeshi Grace Hsieh Kaitlyn Jeong Krishnanand Kelkar Gloria Kim Lisa Lei Mary Zhou

The CAUSE Legislative interns are pleased to present the 2012 Redistricting Research Project. This project encompasses extensive research on the redistricting process on the local, state, and federal level in the state of California. We have conducted various interviews with prominent Asian American leaders in the Los Angeles Community who have opened our eyes to see the intensive process that redistricting includes. Although redistricting is a public affair, many citizens are often unaware that this procedure takes place. The new legislative lines on the local, state, and federal level affect the general population in many different ways. It can unite or divide communities, help or hurt incumbent elected officials and challengers; it may even displace elected officials living in the very districts that they represent. Often times, it creates confusion for citizens who may be unacquainted with new representatives in their new respective districts. We chose this project about redistricting as we felt many were unaware of the complexity of this subject. The redistricting controversy in Koreatown also stood out for us to further pursue in-depth research into this particular topic. It is our hope that this project will empower the public to engage in redistricting and feel confident in their abilities to affect change. But this project would not be what it is without the contributions of other supporters. The CAUSE Leadership Academy Class of 2012 would like to extend its gratitude to a few special people without which we could not have made this project. Without the existence of CAUSE and its Leadership Academy, we would not have had the impetus to put together this booklet. Further, a special thanks goes to CAUSE Executive Director Carrie Gan, the intern supervisor, and Charlie Woo, Chairman of the Board of CAUSE, who both spent countless hours and made great efforts to provide us with resources necessary to completing this labor of love. We would also like to thank the many interviewees: Robert Ahn, John Gee, Mariko Kahn, Deanna Kitamura, Paul Mitchell, Winston Wu, Grace Yoo, legislative staffers and friends, cited as resources in the text. These important civic leaders took time out of their busy schedules to give us the details we needed to bring this project to a higher level of professionalism and sophistication. Without the help of these mentioned, we could not have gotten this project completed.

Sincerely, The 2012 CAUSE Legislative Interns


Foreword 1 Abstract 4
1.1 1.2

Introduction 4
What is Redistricting & Why is it Important? 4 The Relationship Between Race, Minorities, and Rules 5

2.1 2.2

The Process 9
Redistricting on the Federal and State Levels 9 About the Local Commissions: A Closer Look at the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission 13

3.1 3.2 3.3

The Case Study: Koreatown 15

History of Koreatown 17 A Dissection of the Recent Redistricting Controversy 18 Whats Next? 22

4.1 4.2

Civic Action 24
Resources for Staying Informed 25 Methods of Civic Action 26

5 6

Conclusion 31 Works Cited 33

About the Interns 35


to redistricting


This research paper discusses the importance of redistricting on all levels of government: federal, state, and local. First, it explores the history and background of redistricting. Next, it compares different approaches to redistricting, analyzing the pros and cons of each approach. At Californias state level, an independent commission of community members is used to draft the lines, whereas at the local level for the City of Los Angeles, a commission of community members is appointed by elected officials to propose the new districts. Keeping the comparisons in mind, this paper takes a closer look at the redistricting controversy over Koreatown at the city level. Through in-depth investigation of the reasons behind the controversy and its effects on Koreatowns constituents, this paper aims to provide insight on the role redistricting plays in communities. The final part of the paper offers different ways that citizens can contribute to the redistricting process, fulfilling our purpose of educating the public and empowering the public to engage in politics. Ultimately, the paper posits a change at the local level of redistricting in the City of Los Angeles; appointed commissions should be abolished and transformed in the direction of the independent commission used at the state level in California so as to best represent the needs and rights of each individual in the community.

1. Introduction
1.1 What is Redistricting & Why is it Important?
Redistricting is the process of drawing new electoral district boundaries in order to equalize district populations. Since the 1960s, redistricting has been conducted every ten years after the U.S. Census Bureau releases data showing where people reside around the country. The census is a national survey that aims to statistically assess the makeup of the American population. The overall purpose of redistricting is to review districts and, where necessary, redraw districts in order to address any changes in population concentration. Because redistricting has the power to provide the people the voice crucial to the advancement of their interests, analyzing the redistricting process is paramount. The first step in understanding the process is to learn the specific rules for various jurisdictions. Ignorance of the process has detrimental consequences. For example, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission website reports that until fairly recently, minority residents have often had little say in the creation of redistricting plans approved by state

legislatures. As a result, people of color communities have had their power mitigated through cracking, the division of the community into many different districts. In other situations, they were unnecessarily concentrated in a small number of districts, decreasing fair representation across a greater number of districts, known as packing.

1.2 The Relationship Between Race, Minorities, & Rules

Across this spectrum, redistricting bodies, from state to county entities, apply different rules for what criteria, other than equal population, should be used to decide how and where lines are drawn. Federal government gives power to the states to redistrict their respective jurisdictions. States then decide how the lines are drawn and who is responsible for drawing them, adhering to guidelines outlined in the U.S. Constitution that allow people to challenge the maps if they feel that their constitutional rights have been infringed upon. According to Fairvote, these guidelines include the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Section 2 and 5. The roles that race and the rules of redistricting have played in community representation are intertwined. The Voting Rights Act stipulates that all minorities have equal opportunity to elect their representatives so that the needs of individuals from all ethnic backgrounds are met. For the Voting Rights Act to come into effect and result in the creation of district comprised of a minority group, however, the minorities must constitute at least 50% of the population in that district, as determined by Supreme Court Ruling Bartlett v. Strickland (Public Mapping Project). By being aware of these influential policies, people of color can wield the tool of education to fight injustice and protest corrupt redistricting. But why is the topic of racial minorities so scrutinized in the practice of redistricting? By its nature and its periodical update of once every 10 years, redistricting is intrinsically tied to the process of the census. As it deals with race, socioeconomic status, and geographic location, the census survey plays a key role in the redistricting process. The U.S. Census Bureau believes that both U.S. congressional districts and state legislative districts must be drawn so that their residents have a fair and equal share in the way they are governed (U.S. Department of Commerce 10). Backed by the Voting Rights Act of 1965, this duty of the census is meant to protect the power of every single vote through accurate information that will manifest itself in influence over redistricting lines. Further, the Voting Rights Act itself plays an integral part in ensuring that the process of redistricting is done in a manner to preserve and empower minority voices in the political process (NAACP 9).

Figure 1. There has been a rapid increase in the minority population in the United States since the 1960s. Asian and Latino population have experienced rapid growth in the period between 1960 and 2010. This growth has resulted in more demand for fair representation for the minority and has somewhat complicated the drawing of district lines because the minorities are now calling for better representation.

Figure 2. Another representation showing the growth of the minority population attributed mainly to Latino and Asian population growth. Source: U.S Census Bureau, 1960, 1970,1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010 Decennial Census


As it echoes the 15th Amendment, written to ensure that every citizen has a right to participate in government through voting, the Voting Rights Act has been used in defense of many legal battles to protect lines drawn during the redistricting process that keep race in mind. In citing the Voting Rights Act, many ethnic groups have rallied and successfully ensured a say in the political process by having these lines drawn conscious of ethnic enclaves. People of color naturally will inhabit an area as a community. It is not racist to draw lines around a set community if it naturally exists. But there is a fine line between empowering minorities and racism. This tension was brought to light in the Supreme Court case of Shaw v. Reno, where the ultimate conclusion was that districts cannot be drawn in unusual shapes in order to accommodate race. Moreover, with the Shaw v. Reno as precedent, Miller V. Johnson determined that race cannot be the predominating factor in the redistricting process (Forest 143). This is not to say that considering race in redistricting is always a racist endeavor, but in an interview, Paul Mitchell, a redistricting specialist, mentioned that redistricting causes people to talk about race and ethnicity in a way that is almost un-American in its openness. He went on to say that in America, a land of many races, cultures, and ethnicities, race is intrinsically tied into redistricting because voting patterns are often colored by racialized experiences. If it were Romania or a Middle Eastern country where racial homogeneity exists, the religion of a districts constituents would not be a salient topic.

Source: http://wallpaper.diq.ru/

But this entanglement seems to have brought America into a Catch-22 with redistricting. There is the law of the Voting Rights Act, which works to protect people of color and preserve the power of minorities in acknowledging concentrations of minorities, but by contrast, court decisions have long upheld the reality that making districts completely based off of race is essentially racist. Where does this leave us? in need of change. And change is happening. Due to recent Propositions, 11 and 20, passed in California in 2008 and 2010 respectively, the new Voters First Act was created. The Voters

First Act shifted the responsibility of state and federal redistricting in California from legislators with a stake in the new districts to an independent commission of voluntary citizens without political bias (CA Board of Equalization 1).

Figure 3. Population distribution in Los Angeles County as of the 2010 census Source: U.S Census Bureau, Decennial Census 2010

Ideally, this means the unaffiliated agents who design the new district lines would take a non-partisan approach and truly serve the people. Without being muddied by political clout and influences from their appointees, this independent commission could be held responsible to walk the line of balance between court-determined racism and protection of the minority voice as defined by the Voting Rights Act.


the process.


2. The Process
2.1 Redistricting on the State & Federal Level
Often times, a legislative body is responsible for redrawing its own lines. The responsible party for redistricting any jurisdiction will be stated in the laws governing that jurisdiction. In most states, the lines are drawn by the legislature under what may be called a legislative committee because the elected officials effectively decide where the lines will be drawn and they do so while seeing to it that their seats are protected. Many states may have what they call an Advisory Commission or Backup Commission, which act more as advisors rather than the final authority. In some cases, independent commissions are formed to draw and adopt a redistricting plan for a jurisdiction, which is the case in eight of the 50 states, including California (CA Board of Equalization 3). In California in particular, thanks to the Voters First Act, after the 2010 census, redistricting is carried out by an independent commission called Citizens Redistricting Commission of the State of California (the commission) as pursuant to provisions of Article XXI of the California Constitution. This was a move from the traditional gerrymandering in which the legislature drew lines to establish political advantage. The mandate and provisions for redistricting are now contained in Section 1 and Section 2 (a), (b) and (c); SEC. 1. In the year following the year in which the national census is taken under the direction of Congress at the beginning of each decade, the Citizens Redistricting Commission described in Section 2 shall adjust the boundary lines of the congressional, State Senatorial, Assembly, and Board of Equalization districts (also known as redistricting) in conformance with the standards and process set forth in Section 2. SEC. 2. (a) The Citizens Redistricting Commission shall be created no later than December 31 in 2010, and in each year ending in the number zero thereafter. (b) The commission shall: (1) conduct an open and transparent process enabling full public consideration of and comment on the drawing of district lines; (2) draw district lines according to the redistricting criteria specified in this article; and (3) conduct themselves with integrity and fairness.



As the third largest state in the United State, California stands as a hub of cultural, economic, and social diversity. Comprised of various ethnicities, languages, and backgrounds, reflected in a population of 37,691,912 people, the State of California and local municipalities face the ultimate challenge of meeting the needs of each of these unique individuals (wedrawthelines.ca.gov). Using the information provided by the federal census, this independent commission, a group of 14 individuals, must create district lines that accurately reflect and represent the new data gathered; as the populations and demographics change, which elected officials can best project the needs of the new communities follow suit. The process to be one of the 14 members of the Commission begins in February with the availability of the supplemental application and is finalized in December with the final selection of the last six members of the Commission (wedrawthelines.ca.gov). While this application is available to registered California voters who not only will have been continuously registered in California with the same political party, or with no political party for the five years immediately prior to being appointed to the commission, but also have voted in at least two of the last three statewide general elections, specific guidelines to protect the objectivity and fairness of the commission are implemented (cavotes.org). Applicants that have previously served as or been a candidate in federal or state office, been employed by a political party or campaign of a candidate for elective federal or state office, served as a member on a political party central committee, acted as a registered lobbyist, or been paid as a congressional, legislative, or Board of Equalization staffer are considered to have a conflict of interest and are usually deemed ineligible to serve on the Commission (cavotes.org). From a list of those who are determined to be without conflicts of interest, the Application Review Panel (ARP) interviews 120 of the most qualified applicants, narrowing the pool to 60 people--20 registered Democrats, 20 registered Republicans, and 20 who are not registered with either party--to be presented to Legislative leaders (cavotes.org). Majority and Minority Leaders in the State Senate and Assembly have the power to remove two applicants from each pool, and in November, the Secretary of State and the Chief Clerk of the California State Assembly narrow down the pool once again to a group of 36 individuals. On November 18, 2010, the very first members of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission (the commission) under this procedure were randomly selected by California State Auditor, Elaine M. Howel, from a pool of pre-screened applicants (wedrawthelines.ca.gov). These eight names, comprised of three Democrats, three Republicans, and two non-party affiliated individuals from those decided 36, were chosen in a landmark public drawing and were tasked with the responsibility of selecting six other commissioners from a pool of 28 individuals, with the

final group of 14 commissioners being selected by December 31 (wedrawthelines.ca.gov). The varying opinions on what will help each community prosper and grow and how different minority groups can exercise their opinions and fight for their needs act as catalysts for conflict, forcing some individuals to question the objectivity of the commission and the capability of the selected individuals to make informed decisions that will both benefit the population at large and promote smaller communities seeking representation. What ultimately makes this process both accountable and ensures its independence, however, is the fact that California voters exercised their opinions and voices in the November 2008 election by approving the criteria for the creation of the Voters FIRST Act. With representation from all political parties and opinions, and with the elimination of political favoritism with the implementation of the standards preventing those with conflicts of interest from serving on the commission, some concerned citizens hope to use the selection of the commissions at this state level to serve as a model for the creation of redistricting commissions at the local level.
Voting Rights Act Established in 1965, this piece of legislation has two innovative policy implications regarding preservation of a citizens right to vote. One was Section 2, which was a blanket statement on a citizens right to vote. Section 5 requires preclearance for states to change voting procedures a practice that mandates states to get approval for these proposed changes by the Department of Justice before implementing them. Voters FIRST Act Effective after the 2010 Census, the Voter FIRST Act is a piece of California legislation that requires the state to commission a group of citizens separate from the political process to draw the district lines for the state, which includes districts for congressmen, state senators, and assembly members. 14th Amendment This Amendment reassessed the definition of citizenship in America. It was written in a manner to allow people of all races, religions, ages, and lifestyles to be eligible for citizenship and the rights that are earned accordingly. 15th Amendment In accordance with the 14th Amendment, this amendment to the Constitution reiterated the citizens unalienable right to vote. It explicitly prohibited states from eliminating this right from the people of the country.
Figure 4. Chart of relevant laws for redistricting



2.2 About the Local Commissions: A Closer Look at the Los Angeles City Council
Redistricting Commission
Although the redistricting commission at the local level is responsible for drawing lines to reflect the needs of constituents found within the area, just as redistricting commissions at the state level are, the selection process and the controversy that has arisen as a result varies greatly. The Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission, for example, is comprised of 21 individuals, all of whom have been appointed to the commission by the Citys elected officials. The 15 councilmembers from the 15 districts each appoint a member to the commission (CA Board of Equalization 2). The President of the City Council, who in 2012 happens to be councilmember of District 13: Eric Garcetti is given the privilege to appoint a second member to the commission. Additionally, the Mayor is given the authority to appoint three members, and the City attorney and City Controller appoint one each for a total of 21 members on the commission. Because there is no open, independent application process, as found in the California Commission, constituents who feel as if their communities lack representation argue that the members of the local commissions have an inside agenda: benefiting those who appointed them to the prestigious commission in the first place. Commissioner Robert Ahn explained that often times those with political experience and who have had the chance to interact with people who are politically involved and connected have the incredible opportunity to participate in this exciting process... and serve the community as a member of the commission. Ultimately, the method of redistricting used by Los Angeles presently is a renovated version of processes used in the past. In the past, elected officials who had the double duty of representing their constituency as well as protecting their job when it came to the next election were given the responsibility to draw the lines for new districts. This proved to cause conflict, as disagreements either between politicians and the constituents ran rampant and would often result in the courts having the final approval over redistricting proposals (NAACP 13). Although, the City of Los Angeles does not have elected officials themselves redraw the lines of new districts, the responsibility of this chartered commission is to act as an intermediary between the Council and the people. Given the political task of drawing districts, they are to comply with public opinions and keep in mind the function of the City Council when drafting proposed maps of new districts. In order to maintain neutrality and exclude political bias as much as possible, the

Figure 5. Commissioners must adhere to strict standards so as to uphold existing guidelines to redistricting as well as represent the needs of the community. Source: house.leg.state.mn.us

charter does specifically state that no member of the commission can hold any office or be employed by the city in any manner. Paul Mitchell, an expert on redistricting in California, spoke to this unusual set-up, mentioning that it puts the City of Los Angeles in a precarious position: it cannot reap the true benefit for the Council in using an independent commission where constituents would have to face that the lines were unbiased. Further, it does not have the benefit of the peoples ability to hold the City completely accountable, as the Councilmembers themselves did not draw the lines. This form of chartering a commission, separate from the elected officials themselves making these decisions, came into effect just last redistricting cycle for 2002. Now, in 2012, Los Angeles is having its second try on this new method, designed to prevent councilmembers up for election from prioritizing their jobs instead of protecting the voice of their constituents (CA Board of Equalization 4). In the case of 2012, though, the human tendency for bias cannot be ignored. Being appointed by councilmembers already means that each member of the commission is tied to politics in one-way or another. Further, the Los Angeles Times accuses this new form of redistricting, as opposed to the traditional method of elected officials drawing the lines directly, as continuing to be incumbentoriented rather than empowering to the people (Oh). In fact, even Councilman Bernard Parks, a current official stated that the Redistricting Commission has been a farce from day one, intended only to give the illusion that the public had any say in the process(Oh). Drawing the lines with integrity to their original purpose, to benefit members of individual communities, is no easy task. The local redistricting commissions must uphold redistricting criteria as stated in the local city charters, Mr. Ahn elaborated. Some of these guidelines and laws that must be followed include the Equal Population Principle, which states that council districts must contain... equal portions of the total population of the


City, the U.S. Constitutions Equal Protection Clause, which mandates that race cannot be used as the predominant factor in drawing district lines, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits voting practices which result in a denial or abridgement of the right to vote on account of race, color or language minority status, all while upholding traditional redistricting criteria like contiguity, compactness, existing boundaries, and communities of interest (redistricting2011.lacity.org). In addition, the publics needs and opinions must also be respected in the redistricting process, something that Mr. Ahn emphasized as one of the biggest factors when drawing the lines. With 15 public hearings occurring before the first drafts of the Citys lines are published, and another five hearings happening after the drafts are released, there are opportunities for members of the community to step forward and express their discontent or fears about lack of representation resulting from the placement of a certain district line. Even so, certain areas have become outraged after reading the published maps, including influential Los Angeles communities such as Koreatown. Leaders of Koreatown state that the intention behind breaking up the community through the placement of district lines is to dilute the Korean-American voice, and intend to file a lawsuit before the end of the summer. The following case study of the 2012 redistricting proposal which highlights the conflict with Koreatown is a manifestation of what some consider to be the farce of this newer, less biased method of redistricting. During the planning process of the new design, hundreds of redistricting proposals were taken into account. Considering that many supported a unified Koreatown district, constituents are skeptical that these new lines were drawn without ulterior, incumbent-oriented motives. But, as Mr. Ahn explained, the guidelines to be followed when drawing districts are many and complicated. Finding a balance proves to be difficult.



Case Study:



3. The Case Study: Koreatown

3.1 History of Koreatown
The redistricting process affects all constituents, though there are varying levels of how drastic these effects may be. Historically, people of colored communities such as Asian Americans have struggled to have fair representation in the redistricting process (OjedaKimbrough, Lee, and Shek 6). One notable area is Los Angeless Koreatown, which has struggled especially in the past decade on the city level. During the last redistricting process, the neighborhood, despite being barely over one mile square, was split into four city council districts and five state assembly districts (6). The division, still currently in effect, makes it difficult for Koreatown constituents to have their voices heard because of the inherent lack of accountability from their multiple representatives. Instead of going to one person to get something done, you have to go to four, Grace Yoo, the director of the Korean American Coalition, [noted]. And getting four different council members to sign off on something is not an easy task (Linthicum par. 9). To further complicate matters, there are varying ideas of what boundaries define Koreatown. There are six commonly referenced borders that are determined by the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Los Angeles Unified School District, neighborhood councils, and community organizations (KoreAm). Unfortunately, these borders all differ. As a result, Koreatown [actually] spans three or four city council districts, depending on which set is used. Anything from a business permit to a pothole requires a glance at the map to determine which councilmember to call (Yi). This division only adds to the various obstacles that Koreatowns constituents face. One such obstacle includes the difficulty in communicating with the different council offices. The area is populated with many immigrants, and the encompassing language barrier often discourages people from seeking the help that they need. As Yoo mentioned, some council offices dont always have Korean speakers available (Linthicum par. 10). Despite this, getting more accessible, Korean-friendly offices will be an uphill battle, seeing as councilmen and women have little reason to prioritize this need when the divided Koreatown constituents make up a small minority of their district. Furthermore, despite the appearance of economical stability because of its abundance of privately owned small businesses, Koreatown has a lack of community programs and resources. As Helen Kim, an attorney assigned to the redistricting panel by Los Angeles Controller Wendy Greuel, said, Koreatown, with its potholes and lack of green space, is really a very needy community (Linthicum par. 12). Indeed, Koreatown is in need of

many more parks, senior centers, affordable housing, public works projects (Yi). This problem has been exacerbated by the fact that Korean-Americans living in the area have yet to develop a central agenda. Justin Kim, a Koreatown developer who was recently appointed to the City of Los Angeles Planning Commission, comments, We need to decide for the long term: Is it going to be a balance, a little more tilt toward business, or [are we] really going to try to have affordable housing [and] senior housing? (Yi). One way in which these goals can be defined is through writing a community plan. Though Koreatown is a part of the broader Wilshire Plan, it has yet to form a Koreatown-specific plan, [which] would allow many of the varying concerns in the neighborhood to attempt to form a consensus, rather than working through their individual channels, whether it be protest or donation, to accomplish their ends (Yi). However, the process of assembling a community plan would require a politician to take an active interest in Koreatowns future, and despite the neighborhoods longtime importance to its elected officials, no such plan has yet emerged (Yi).

3.2 A Dissection of the Recent Redistricting Controversy

Source: Eugene Yi; KoreAm

Having experienced this uncomfortable situation for a decade, the usually politically inactive Korean-American constituents and activists were motivated to act. When the redistricting commission held public hearings in every city council district in December [2011] and January [2012] to field public comment, hundreds of Korean Americans took advantage of their multiple opportunities to speak (Yi). The turnout was both unexpected (to the outside world) and unprecedented, and was made possible through the efforts of local organizations, including ethnic media sources, such as The Korea Times, who covered the issue in-depth. Though the numbers were not officially documented, at


one point, Alex Cha, a [Wilshire Center-Koreatown Neighborhood Council] (WCKNC) board member, said activists contacted all the major Koreatown organizations to try and fill the theater (Yi). That day, they had 600 Keep Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council Whole sashes; afterwards, the supply had been depleted (Yi). During the hearings, many speakers suggested using [the boundaries] of the Wilshire Center-Koreatown Neighborhood Council [] (WCKNC), particularly since the redistricting commission had asserted its aim to preserve as many neighborhood councils as possible (Yi). Furthermore, the speakers requested that this area be combined with two other Asian enclaves [in Council District 13]: Thai Town and Historic Filipinotown in order to more easily elect an Asian American (Zahniser). Unlike Councilman Herb Wessons District 10, District 13 would not only have a larger percentage of Asian Americans but also have an open seat for its council member. Despite this extensive effort

Figure 6. Koreatown map overlay that shows the boundaries of different parties, including that of the Wilshire Center-Koreatown Neighborhood Council (WCKNC). The proposed boundaries of Koreatown and Little Bangladesh are circa 2009 when there was a conflict over their respective boundaries. Source: Korean American Coalition - kacla.org

from an impressive range of organizations, in February 2012, the new proposed and later approved redistricting maps were disappointing and infuriating for many KoreanAmericans. The new redistricting lines, approved in a vote 16-5, split Koreatownusing the citys tighter boundaries, rather the broader neighborhood council boundaries

between areas represented by Councilmen Herb Wesson [of Council District 10] and Eric Garcetti [of Council District 13] (Nakamura, Muranaka; Yi; Linthicum par. 3). These maps technically united Koreatown according to its boundaries as defined by the city, but separated the residents in the northern portion of WCKNC (in Council District 13) from Koreatowns financial base (in Council District 10) (APALC). Many Korean-Americans spoke out about these new maps, and one reason was their increasingly tense relationship with Councilman Herb Wesson of District 10. Many Korean-Americans maintained that Wesson does not provide Koreatownwhere Latinos are the majority and Asians a large minoritywith the public works, services, and nonprofit funding it deserves (Aron). In fact, many activists went so far as to accuse Wesson of ignoring neighborhood needs while treating their area like an ATM [by] raising tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Korean American businesses, many of which need conditional-use permits issued by the city government (Zahniser). Though these statements were worded strongly, it is notable that Koreatown and the Korean-American business community were indeed critical to Wessons success, considering that an estimated one-third of his political contributions, or more than $84,000, had come from Korean donors (Zahniser). The amount is particularly significant when put into context; Korean-Americans make up around 10% of the district (CSUN). Furthermore, it is understandable that no elected official would want to lose such a key support group. In response, Wesson dismissed the allegations, saying he has worked diligently on plans for a new Koreatown park, a new senior center and new real estate projects (Zahniser). Despite being upset about the perceived lack of attention in the past, KoreanAmericans main grievance with the redistricting process was a lack of transparency and fair judgment. The process is flawed if you have all of these public input hearings, and you dont take that public input into account, said Ben Juhn, a staff member of the Korean American Coalition (Yi). Added Robert Ahn, a lawyer and one of the two Korean-American redistricting commissioners: All these other neighborhood councils, [the other commissioners] moved heaven and earth to try and unite. Theyre like, Oh, theres overwhelming testimony When they talk about strong testimony, theyre talking about like 10 people that came out and said, Hey, we want to be whole. But when you compare that to the hundreds of Koreans that came out, advocating for WCKNC boundaries, that somehow got ignored (Yi). And though redistricting is an inherently political process, other factors suggest that L.A.s redistricting commission may also have been influenced by political conflicts among the City Council. For instance, in the recent redistricting process, L.A. City


Council[members] Bernard Parks and [Jan] Perry, two of Wessons critics, fared extremely poorly. The commission remove[d] almost all of the booming downtown skyscraper district from Perry and hand[ed] it to Eastside Councilman Jose Huizar, a Wesson ally. And coveted Leimert Park considered the heart of the black community [was] moved out of Parks District 8 and [instead placed in] Wessons District 10 (Aron, Stewart). As a result of this move and one involving Baldwin Hills, AfricanAmericans [would then] account for 50.6 percent of registered voters in the Tenth District, up from 43.2 percent (City Maven). As mentioned in the Minority Report and Recommendations of the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission, submitted by Commissioners Robert Ahn, Bobbie Jean Anderson, Helen Kim and David Roberts, the heavy emphasis on race in drawing the boundaries of CD10 is particularly problematic, because it appears to place a priority on bolstering the AfricanAmerican population in CD10, a historically African-American influence district that has always relied on cross-racial alliances with other similarly-sized groups, with little apparent regard to the impact on CD 8, the citys only council district with a majority African-American (citizen voting age population). (Ahn, Anderson, Kim, Roberts). Further evidence of potential backdoor deals or emphasis on political motivations included the case of Councilman Ed Reyes District 1, [which ended up] includ[ing] the home of Reyes ally and chief of staff, Jose Gardea, who is running to replace termedout Reyes in 2013. The commission neatly chopped out of the district the home of state Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, who also is running for that seat (Aron). Unfortunately, other questionable situations have also emerged throughout the process. Early on, the commission voted to break into three closed-door committees to draw maps of the 15 new council districts, rather than working in public (Aron). The choice, whether ill-intentioned or not, undoubtedly created more suspicion about the possibility of backroom deals. And yet another problematic situation involved Commissioner Amber Martinez, who was appointed by [Mayor] Villaraigosa to replace a commissioner who fell ill just hours before a meeting. [Despite being new,] Martinez didnt ask any questions, voting on complex new boundaries without hesitation (Aron). Many other parties, including those not directly involved or personally invested, have since spoken out about the redistricting process. Commissioner David Roberts, an appointee of Councilwoman Perry, did not vote to support the final map, which was also very unfavorable to his appointer, and called the process dysfunctional. We lost credibility with the public, which is sad, really sad, said Roberts. I think theres going to be a strong push for redistricting reform similar to what weve seen at the state level. That you do have an independent commission, a commission that does

Figure 7. The final redistricting map Source: City of Los Angeles Redistricting 2011

not reflect political interests and representatives on the commission pushing political agendas (Nakamura, Muranaka). And although an independent commission is not a perfect solution, it has served the constituents of Koreatown well, having united the greater Koreatown area in the State Senate and Assembly districts. Reflecting a similar sentiment, Eric Schockman, a political science professor who helped create the process by which city officials appoint redistricting commissioners, recently expressed regrets about his input a decade ago. In retrospect, it was wrong and I apologize, Schockman said. We should never have allowed the politicians through their surrogates to redistrict the City of Los Angeles (Nakamura, Muranaka). Surprisingly, many commissioners, who voted for the final map, also expressed regret


over how Koreatown was handled, though they thought that their maps were a good effort (Aron). Commissioner David Roberti, appointed by Councilmember Paul Koretz, voted to approve the map, but acknowledged guilty feelings over Koreatown: I am terribly guilt ridden over the concerns of the Korean community, they did not win here. Ten years ago, they didnt win either and I was on that commission as well, said Roberti. The problem is not that theyre not heard, because they are heard. The problem is that this is a political process. And they havent developed that weight yet and maybe theres got to be another way for them to develop that weight (Nakamura, Muranaka).

3.3 Whats Next?

Though the new redistricting maps have been approved, Korean-Americans have refused to concede defeat and have proceeded to working within the courts by preparing for a lawsuit. L.A. law firms Akin Gump and Bird Marella have taken on the case pro-bono (LA Weekly). The lawsuits legal claims will fall into two buckets: The first is the final map itself, which splits Koreatown in half. In particular, attorney [Hyongsoon Kim] cited complaints that City Council President Herb Wessons self-appointed redistricting commissioner [Andrew Westall] might have been unfairly focusing on making Wessons district as black as possible (and therefore a shoo-in for a black candidate) (L.A. Weekly). In Grace Yoos words, the lawsuit will likely be a somewhat of a hollow victory (Yoo). I understand that [the lawsuit] is not going to remedy the situation the way that I would have liked, Yoo said. But were not going away saying We give up. She continued to say, My map will not change for the 2013 city elections. But its certainly not going to take us until 2021 for us to make movement. Its going to happen sooner than that (Yoo). In a sense, this may be the most important message to take away from the whole situation. Redistricting is a controversial process that will inevitably happen every ten years. The process will be redone, but one key effect may be that 2012s redistricting process could mark the political coming of age of Koreatown, which could be followed, if history is a guide, by a more deft and sophisticated forging of coalitions (L.A. Times).


civic action.



4. Civic Action
4.1 Resources for Staying Informed
First, the public must be made aware of the new redistricting lines that will affect them for the next ten years. Some thorough and helpful online resources are the League of Women Voters of California, Education Fund website and RedrawLa.org, through which the public can educate themselves and see what lines have been drawn in their respective cities. This specific site gives citizens the option to map out your own district proposals or draw the boundaries of your community of interest (RedrawLA). FairVote.org is another website where citizens can learn the history of redistricting and utilize other online resources such as a redistricting glossary, litigation, reform legislation, resource list, news, and alternative approaches on redistricting. It is imperative that the public gains the knowledge necessary to know the changes that are being made from the 2001 to the 2012 maps, and possibly change these maps if they feel that these maps are not accurate. As stated in this remark from the League of Women Voters of California, If districts are drawn that keep communities intact, people are better able to elect representatives who will further their interests (League of Women Voters of California). In this way, redistricting is done in hope of creating more precise and detailed maps of the geographic changes and shifts in populations that has occurred within the past ten years. The official change in local, state, and federal lines will take into effect at the beginning of 2013.

Other resources that may help to educate the public include several Universities like the University of California, Berkeley, which has created and helped fund six different physical locations where citizens can visit and have a hands-on experience in the redistricting process. These centers located in, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Fresno, Sacramento, and Berkeley are conveniently located throughout all of California

to encourage the public to use computers that have actual redistricting software in which citizens can develop map submissions or testimony for the states Citizens Redistricting Commission while the Commission was deliberating (The Redistricting Assistance Sites Project). These centers are effective resources for community members to come together and learn about the various aspects of the redistricting process. The University of Berkeley, School of Law has a group of law students who are available to answer any questions that citizens might come across in the area of redistricting (The Redistricting Group at Berkeley Law). Universities are very resourceful places where citizens can glean information on the process of redistricting from experts in this specific field. When using these research computers however, citizens must be wary of using ethnicity as a criterion; the computers can track what you use to draw your lines, and prevent you from presenting gerrymandered districts in court. Using factors such as socioeconomic factors are more useful (Gee, Wu).

4.2 Methods of Civic Action

The redistricting process is not only a process that citizens must be aware of and educated on, but it is also part of our civic duty as citizens to participate in the process through different means. Participation is not limited to only political groups. As wedrawthelines. org explains, Anyone may participate! Interested partiesincluding non-profit organizations, community leaders, and political partiesmay use maps and population counts of their states, counties and cities to advocate for where they believe district boundaries should be drawn, thus illustrating the potential of power in the common people.

Source: All About Redistricting - redistricting.lls.edu

Professor Justin Levitt from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles shares several different ways the public can engage and be a part of the redistricting process. He shares that citizens can identify local communities, demand and attend hearings, present community maps to those who draw the lines, educate the media, and ask questions (Levitt). Professor Levitt argues that when citizens identify local communities they are able to assist those in charge of the process by mapping out the boundaries of local communities that should be kept together (Levitt). In this way, the community can come together and agree on boundaries that will affect their own communities of interest. In terms of citizens demanding and attending hearings, Justin Levitt states, many community


organizations and nonprofits are coordinating attendance at these hearings, to make sure that the members of the communities they serve are heard in the redistricting process (Levitt). Logically, the more voices that are being heard throughout these hearings, the more inclined community leaders and commissioners will be to listen to these concerned citizens. Citizens can also present community maps to those who draw the lines by bringing relatively small maps of individual community boundaries (Levitt). In many cases, citizens do not have the time or money to spend all their efforts redrawing the lines for the entire state, but citizens can very well bring their own local community maps to those who draw the lines, for points of reference. The California Citizens Commission Board advises to find out who is drawing the maps for districts and what information besides the census they are using to make their determinations about where lines should be drawn. Ask your county registrar and county superintendent of schools. In addition, you can consult your county counsel, city clerk, city attorney, special district managers or legal departments for information about local redistricting.

Source: RedrawLA.org

Professor Levitt also explains that if in the case that the maps are brought into court jurisdiction for further review, the local maps with the petitions may also be reviewed for consideration. One of the most valuable tactics citizens can use is educating the media. The media is an effective tool that citizens can use to highlight or bring to light certain disagreements with the new redistricting lines for other citizens to learn and see. Citizens can contact the local media, such as radio stations, television stations, or print media resources in their area. The media can help reach out to the rest of the community who may be unaware of the disproportionate lines that may have been drawn. The media is particularly important because it is accessible to many groups, including minorities. Ethnic media can play a powerful role in empowering and educating ethnic communities, who often struggle with language barriers. Lastly, the most important thing that the public can do is ask questions. If citizens just ask the right questions and keep their community

leaders and commissioners accountable and transparent, by actively holding meetings and looking up the archived information the process of redistricting would be favorable for all citizens. One of the most effective ways that citizens can participate in the redistricting process is by actually being appointed to the Citizens Redistricting Commission that is held on the state level. The State of California Redistricting Commission Final Report on 2011 Redistricting, which was finalized on August 15, 2011, states, the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission will draw districts based on strict nonpartisan rules designed to ensure fair representation (State of California Citizens Redistricting Commission Final Report). One of the requirements, however, is that those chosen to be a part of the Citizens Redistricting Commission are prohibited from holding elective office at the federal, state, county or city level for a period of ten years from their appointment, and from holding appointive public office for a period of five years (State of California Citizens Redistricting Commission Final Report). These regulations and limitations are in place to ensure that there is no conflict of interest if one of the citizen commissioners were in elected office. This commission consists of: three who are Democrats, three who are Republican, and two who are either Decline-to-State or are registered with another party (California Citizens Redistricting Commission). It is an extensive process to pick these candidates through several pools of eligible commission candidates. However, this is the most effective way citizens can get involved in the actual redistricting process. Those chosen to be on the commission will serve for the next ten years, until new lines are drawn, and the process starts again. Another way citizens can get involved is through starting a referendum, which can challenge the newly drawn lines. For example, there was a recent referendum created by a citizen in Laguna Niguel by the name of Julia Vandermost in 2011, which challenged new Senate lines. Although this ballot was struck down due to insufficient funding, this referendum was an example of citizens coming together to create and support a referendum against the lines that had already been drawn in California. Another way in which citizens can challenge new lines in their communities is through legal means. The most current case would be the lawsuit that the citizens of Koreatown are bringing to the City of Los Angeles. The citizens of Koreatown feel that they are not being represented fairly in the new district lines, and thus are in the process of seeing their lawsuit come into full fruition. Furthermore, Common Cause exemplifies some of the helpful advocacy organizations that make it straightforward and easy for citizens to participate in the redistricting process. These organizations do more than collect donations; they actually empower the public by educating them on how they can voice their concerns at town hall meetings,


how they can learn more about their representatives, and even construct their own redistricting maps. The Public Mapping Project also seeks to increase transparency in redistricting by helping citizens voice their own opinions on how the lines should be drawn. And myriad more organizations exist that provide citizens with instructions on how to present their own maps at town meetings and communicate with their representatives. Most importantly, by contributing to the political process, constituents can become more politically aware, thus opening the doors for future participation and engagement. Citizens will have a newfound incentive to vote and reform the government. Research conducted generally supported the idea that minority representation and majority-minority districts are correlated with greater involvement in politics by Latinos and African Americans (Claremont). Something else that could impact specifically the voting behavior of minorities is the recently established Independent Citizens Commission of California, which creates the district lines of California. The racial breakdown of this commissioning board is interestingly skewed towards ethnic minorities: the board consists of four Asians, three Hispanics, three Whites, two African Americans, one Pacific Islander, and one Native American. While the state is roughly 50 percent White, the commission is 21 percent White. Likewise, census data released in early March 2011 hinted at increased representation of minorities in the legislature. The California state legislature and the congressional delegation are about to look a lot more like California. Youre going to see districts that are much more likely to elect minority candidates and a huge shift from the coast inland, said Dan Schnur, director of the University of Southern Californias Unruh Institute of Politics. More minority candidates means more similar political views and policy interests for minority citizens, a phenomenon that minority citizens can capitalize on by vocalizing their concerns, knowing that their representatives have a higher chance of listening. However, with the ethnic variety of California, its diversity can be diluted, as it has been in the past. For example, the San Jose neighborhood of Berryessa is more than 50 percent Asian-American and Pacific Islander yet there are four state assembly districts in the neighborhood (New America Media). This kind of situation exemplifies the benefits of political empowerment among the minorities. With more knowledge of how minorities are affected by their districts, they can realize their influence in the elections, and can vote for officials who will better represent their community needs. It is necessary that the public voice its concerns, for no computer or machine that is employed for creating the census can express the interests of the people better than the people themselves. Deanna Kitamura, a lawyer for Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), cites lack of transparency as one of the biggest issues in redistricting that have yet to be resolved. By providing officials with socioeconomic data, citizens can prevent politics from corrupting

the system. In the past, officials easily made deals with one another and created their lines with no public input (Kitamura). In conclusion, citizens have a wide range of resources available to them. These resources include: online resources, redistricting guide books, universities, town hall meetings, local legislative offices, and media resources to help educate the public on the process of redistricting, and how it affects them in their communities. However, the most effective strategy for civic engagement, is for the public to be a part in the actual process of redistricting itself, by either attending hearings, presenting their own maps of their communities, utilizing the media, holding their community leaders accountable, asking questions, and by actually becoming one of the independent citizen commissioners. If the public engages in civic action throughout the redistricting process, it will be the first steps for communities to receive fair and accurate representation for years to come. And of course, by contributing to the redrawing of lines and increasing ones chance of being represented by a favorable official, citizens increase their chances of having their issues fixed.





5. Conclusion
Redistricting divides neighborhoods in ways that can possibly change the entire dynamic of a region. Historically, underserved and underrepresented communities of color have been deprived of many resources and opportunities compared to their fellow Americans. This stems from the deeply rooted and persistent systematic racism that has remained for centuries. However, in recent years, what was once the minority has grown substantially to become the majority. Therefore, redistricting is one of the most important aspects of democracy that truly dictates the governance of our community. Every ten years, redistricting occurs and consequently changes the political climate of a community. Redistricting can also alter the opportunities for resources such as the accessibility to health clinics, schools, and other public services. Redistricting is a crucial obstacle that prevents communities from taking responsibility of their towns and accessing these resources. By dividing up the land and separating communities of interest, redistricting splits up the voices of the people who find it difficult to stand united when their space has been physically carved up. Since redistricting is an important reoccurring procedure, laws have been changed to foster a more transparent and democratic process for the community to be involved in.

Source: CAUSE

In an attempt to implement a transparent process and stray away from the traditional problem of gerrymandering, which consistently served the legislatures political agenda, the appointed position at the local level was created to represent the people. However, this process leaves room for scrutiny because the members of the redistricting commission are appointed by elected officials and tied to politics. Although appointed commission may seem ideal in theory, the fact of the matter remains that neither the public nor the politicians can be held accountable for the outcome of the commission. Therefore, we recommend that the tradition of an appointed commission be altered to model the independent commission at the state and federal level. This way, the process of redistricting would become more unbiased, transparent, and fair. In the past year, the state adopted an independent commission of members who serve as an


unbiased team that decides the redistricting lines. This process has proved to be a better form of state redistricting that shows a lesser degree of political residue. Though politics can be mitigated, it is still inevitable in a process that is inherently political; and although representation can be improved with an independent redistricting commission, people will always find some fault in the system. Despite the current redistricting efforts of the legislature, appointed commissions, and independent commissions, the process would not be complete without the essence of a community. Thus, the most important factor to redistricting is community involvement and civic participation. The community must become involved with the redistricting process, regardless of the style of the commission; if not, the peoples voices will be at risk of being unheard or misheard. There are many ways to engage the public about redistricting, such as participating at public commission meetings, educating the community about redistricting through public forums, conversations, and other means. In addition, the community should propose its own maps that will prove the best for governing its people and present them to the commission. Public participation is crucial at this time because these communities of color are at risk of being divided again. Community reactions to the splitting of Koreatown are prime models of how people can stand in solidarity to gain political power in redistricting. And the unity and community participation that have risen from the redistricting controversy, whether in the form of protests, lawsuits, or testimonials, are admirable for civic engagement in our communities. Although redistricting is one of the most complex forms of governance, it is also one of the most defining aspects of political representation. Therefore, the responsibility for attaining proper governance and maintaining the true voice of the community falls upon the peoples shoulders, for strong governments ultimately derive their strength from the people.

6. Works Cited
Ahn, Robert. Robert Ahn. Telephone interview. 12 July 2012. Altman, Micah, and Michael McDonald. Public Mapping Project. Public Mapping Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 July 2012. <http://www.publicmapping.org/>. APALC Expresses Disappointment With Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Map. Asian Pacific American Legal Center. N.p., 20 June 2012. Web. 4 July 2012. <http://www.apalc.org/media- center/press-releases/apalc-expresses-disappointment-los-angeles-city-council-redistricting>. Aron, Hillel. Helen Kim Takes on L.A.s Old Guard. LA Weekly. N.p., 1 Mar. 2012. Web. 22 June 2012. CA Board of Equalization. Rep. N.p., 15 Aug. 2011. Web. 28 June 2012. California Citizens Redistricting Commission. California Citizens Redistricting Commission. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 July 2012. <http://wedrawthelines.ca.gov/>. City of Los Angeles Redistricting 2011. City of Los Angeles Redistricting 2011. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 July


2012. <http://redistricting2011.lacity.org/LACITY/default.html>. FairVote - Voting Rights Act Text. FairVote - Voting Rights Act Text. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 July 2012. <http://archive.fairvote.org/?page=1327>. Forest, Benjamin. Mapping Democracy: Racial Identity and the Quandary of Political Representation. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 91.1 (2001): 143-66. Print. Gilliam, Frank. Exploring Minority Empowerment: Symbolic Politics, Governing Coalitions, and Traces of Political Style in Los Angeles. Midwest Political Science Association 40.1 (1996): 56-81. Jstore. Web. 26 June 2012. Kitamura, Deanna. Deanna Kitamura. Telephone interview. 19 July 2012. KoreAm. Reimagining Koreatown. Web log post. The Korean American Experience. N.p., Mar. 2009. Web. 12 July 2012. L.A.s Flawed Redistricting Process. Editorial. Los Angeles Times. N.p., 17 Feb. 2012. Web. 3 July 2012. League of Women Voters of California | Education Fund. League of Women Voters of California Education Fund. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 July 2012. <http://cavotes.org/>. Levitt, Justin. How Can the Public Engage? All About Redistricting: Justin Levitts Guide to Drawing the Electoral Lines. Loyola Law School, n.d.Web. 14 July 2012. <http://redistricting.lls.edu/how.php>. Linthicum, Kate. Proposed Koreatown Redistricting Debated. Los Angeles Times. N.p., 1 Feb. 2012. Web. 13 July 2012. Nakamura, Ryoko, and Gwen Muranaka. K-Town, Little Tokyo Lose in Redistricting Vote. The Rafu Shimpo. N.p., 24 Feb. 2012. Web. 4 July 2012. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Asian American Justice Center, and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The Impact of Redistricting in Your Community. Publication. N.p.: NAACP, 2010. Asian Pacific American Legal Center. NAACP. Web. 3 July 2012. Oh, Hansook. Quit Gerrymandering Koreatown: The API and Immigrants Communities Wont Let the L.A. City Council Play Games. Daily Sundial. N.p., 14 Mar. 2012. Web. 28 June 2012. Ojeda-kimbrough, Carol, Eugene Lee, and Yen L. Shek. The Asian American Redistricting Project. Publication. UCLA Asian American Studies Center, July 2009. Web. 29 June 2012. Redistricting. The Redistricting Group at Berkeley Law. University of California, Berkeley, n.d. Web. 13 July 2012. <http://redistrictinggroup.org/redistricting/>. Redraw LA. RedrawLA. Healthy City and Advancement Project, n.d. Web. 14 July 2012. <http://www. redrawla.org/>. The Redistricting Assistance Sites Project. Statewide Database University of California, Berkeley, n.d. Web. 14 July 2012. <http://swdb.berkeley.edu/resources/RTAC/>. United States of America. U.S. Department of Commerce. U.S. Census Bureau. Strength in Numbers. U.S. Census Buereau, July 2010. Web. 5 July 2012. Walton, Alice. Redistricting Minority Report Says Commission Ignored Public Input, Relied on Race to Draw District Lines. The City Maven. N.p., 1 Mar. 2012. Web. 26 June 2012. Wilson, Simone. Koreatown to File Redistricting Lawsuit Against L.A. City Council; 2 Pro-Bono Firms on Board. La Weekly. N.p., 28 Mar. 2012. Web. 28 June 2012. Wu, Winston, and Gee John. CACA Interviews. Telephone interview. 23 June 2012. Yi, Eugene. How K-Town Lost and Won. KoreAm 9 May 2012: n. pag. Web. 3 July 2012. Yoo, Grace. Grace Yoo. Interview. 16 July 2012. Zahniser, David. Koreatowns Bond to Herb Wesson Is Breaking Amid Redistricting. N.p., 7 Mar. 2012. Web. 24 June 2012.


About the Interns 2012 CAUSE Leadership Academy

Wajenda Chambeshi
Year & School: Junior at University of California, Los Angeles Office Placement: Senator Curren Price Role of Project: Staff Writer for Introduction and The Process

Year & School: 2011 Graduate of University of California, San Diego Office Placement: Assemblymember Don Wagner Role of Project: Staff Writer for Civic Action and Conclusion

Grace Hsieh

Kaitlyn Jeong

Year & School: Freshman at Harvard University Office Placement: State Controller John Chiang Role of Project: Copy Editor, Staff Writer for Introduction and The Process

Year & School: Sophomore at Brown University Office Placement: Senator Carol Liu Role of Project: Archivist, Staff Writer for Introduction and The Process

Krishnanand Kelkar


Gloria Kim

Year & School: Sophomore at University of Southern California Office Placement: Senator Lou Correa Role of Project: Design Editor, Staff Writer for Case Study: Koreatown

Lisa Lei

Year & School: Senior at University of California, Irvine Office Placement: Congresswoman Judy Chu Role of Project: Project Lead, Staff Writer for Conclusion

Mary Zhou

Year & School: Freshman at University of California, Berkeley Office Placement: Congressman Adam Schiff Role of Project: Copy Editor, Staff Writer for Civic Action

About the Cause Leadership Academy Since its inception in 1991, the CAUSE Leadership Academy (formerly called CASIC, California Asian American Student Internship Coalition) has prepared elite student leaders to be in the forefront of Californias legislative arena. This program is especially dedicated to developing the leadership skills of college students who are interested in exploring a career in public office, public service or community advocacy. Previous students have been selected from Ivy League schools, the University of California system, community colleges and local high schools. Graduates of the program have gone on to run for elected office, work as legislative staff or work in the nonprofit sector.



CAUSE Mission Statement Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan, community-based organization with a mission to advance the political empowerment of the Asian Pacific American (APA) community through nonpartisan voter registration and education, community outreach, and leadership development. Founded in 1993, CAUSE is comprised of committed professional, business, community and political leaders, and has established itself as a unique nonpartisan APA organization dedicated solely to APA civic and political participation. Based in the Greater Los Angeles area, CAUSEs influence reaches throughout California. CAUSE Board Members Charlie Woo | Board Chair Megatoys Marcella Low | Vice Chair Southern California Gas Company Kenny Yee | Vice Chair Imuarock Partners Victor I. King | Legal Counsel California State University, Los Angeles Ben Wong | Secretary Southern California Edison Gary H. Arakawa | Board Member Covington Capital Management Ling-Ling Chang | Board Member City of Diamond Bar Sandra Chen Lau | Board Member University of Southern California Alan Key Kims | Board Member Ardmore Medical Group CAUSE Staff Carrie Gan, Executive Director Sophia Islas, Director of Communications Breanna Lam, Executive Intern Anna Wang, Executive Intern Kenneth K. Lee | Board Member Jenner & Block LLP Fred Rowley | Board Member Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP Nita Song | Board Member IW Group, Inc. K. Luan Tran | Board Member Lee Tran & Liang , APLC Emily Wang | Board Member East West Bank Ron Wong | Board Member Imprenta Communications Group Robert Yap | Board Member Total Call International Albert Young, M.D. | Board Member Network Medical Management

A Special Thanks to Our Sponsors


Sources (from left to right): KCET, sgvtribune.mycapture.com, Rafu-Shimpo, L.A. Times, L.A. Times, examiner.com

CAUSE Leadership Academy Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE) 260 S. Los Robles Ave. #118 Pasadena, CA 91101 Office: (626) 356-9838 Fax: (626) 356-9878 info@causeusa.org www.causeusa.org