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Read the full report recommending the expansion of L.A. City Council from 15 to 25 Representatives

The “Interim Report of the L.A. Governance Reform Project,” published this June 2023 by a team of researchers and academics from USC, UCLA Luskin, and Cal State, among others, says about the leaked recording from October 2021 of L.A. City officials discussing the city map’s redrawing:

“At the time of the conversation, the city council was exercising its charter authority to draw lines after an advisory redistricting commission had presented its report. (emphasis mine)”

The report also notes about current calls to expand the council that:

“Such a wave of reform energy does not occur very often. Sometimes decades pass between reform eras. Los Angeles is in the midst of one such moment now, and it is not to be taken for granted.”

Regarding the question of exactly how to expand the number of representatives at L.A. City Hall, the report states that this is most likely best advanced through an amendment to L.A.’s city charter, or the city’s homemade version of the U.S. constitution:

“Passed by the voters in 1924 and implemented in 1925, the charter, as amended, has been the city’s governing document for nearly a century. The charter can only be changed by a vote of the people. Charter amendments can be placed on the ballot by the city council or by an initiative based on the signatures of registered voters.”

As to when this and other changes to L.A.’s governing structure might be pursued, the report leaves no room for misinterpretation:

“Our first overall recommendation is that a package of governance reforms be placed on the November 2024 ballot.”

And on the question of how to pay for more offices and salaries, the report points out that the city budget’s current share for funding the council is already a small share of the total annual city budget, which this fiscal year is roughly $13 billion:

“Our research shows that it is a very small share of the city’s budget. A cap on the share of the budget that goes to the council’s operations could be part of the ballot measure as well as a pro-rated reduction in council salaries. A cap on the share of the budget that goes to the council (including member and staff salaries, and offices at city hall and in the field) could be part of the ballot measure.”

Last but not least, the report contends that increasing the number of L.A. City Council Representatives from 15 to 25, including with the introduction of 4 “At Large” offices, should bolster representation for more of the people who make up L.A.’s neighborhoods:

“Communities with a likelihood of gaining representation include those of Korean, Filipino, Guatemalan, and Salvadoran origin.”



Firstly, we shout out the city of L.A.’s brand-new Charlotta Bass day, which took place this February 14th, 2023. We also recognize that USC has officially rolled out a new Charlotta Bass Journalism & Justice Lab at its Annenberg school. Learn more about Charlotta Bass here.

Secondly, we shout out Mike Bonin’s What’s Next, Los Angeles? podcast. The former council member is interviewing candidates for the upcoming election to fill CD-6, or the southern half of the San Fernando Valley’s seat at L.A. City Council.

We also note that Council Member Soto-Martinez spoke with Kate Cagle of Spectrum news recently, during which he suggested that the fence surrounding Echo Park lake should be taken down around late March before it’s two-year anniversary after being placed there by former representative for the area Mitch O’Farrell. Soto-Martinez states that this is because the park’s maintenance is not solely on him and his office to take care of, but on L.A.’s Parks and Recreation department as well. He and his team are also working with local service-providers to support unhoused people who may look to reside at the park upon the fence’s being taken down, according to the report.

Finally, we share some thoughts on a recent discussion at L.A. City Hall over a new redistricting process, including competing proposals between the city and state Senator Maria Elena Durazo’s office. Our photo for this episode is provided by Associated Press photojournalists Damian Dovarganes and Marcio Sanchez.

For more of these updates and then some, please follow J.T. the L.A. Storyteller on Apple or Spotify, then rate and review us!

And if you’d like to tune into the show from elsewhere, please see our RSS feed here:


food holiday red love


Happy 2023, Los Angeles! If you’re listening from Spotify or Apple Podcasts, you’ll notice a new look to the show. This is courtesy of Aspen Leavitt, whose illustration for yours truly captures the spirit of Los Cuentos like few others could. See more of Aspen’s work via Instagram at @artbyazpen.

Secondly, save the date for our next IG Live session taking place next Tuesday, January 17th and featuring Eva Recinos, a writer on arts and culture in L.A. who’s going to take us through some of her latest, must-read stories.

And if you’ve been anywhere in California lately, you know it’s been fiercely cold; so pick up some Los Cuentos pink and yellow beanies to keep you and your counterparts warm over the next few months; this way you’ll not only support the show, but you’ll do so in style. Place your order via and thank you in advance, it means the world.

This tidbit also reflects for a moment on recent developments in Los Angeles, where Karen Bass was just elected to the mayor’s office. Bass recently declared a state of emergency for the city’s roughly 50,000 people without shelter, and her administration’s Inside Safe initiative has been slowly but steadily offering hotel rooms in exchange for removal of tents along the street; we’ve not yet seen the numbers for tracking this system but will make them available if and when we can access them.

We also note not one but three new progressive L.A. City Council Members, including Eunisses Hernandez, Hugo Soto-Martinez, and Katy Young-Yaroslavsky. A shout out also goes to Lindsey P. Horvath, who just became the new representative for the 3rd District, of which West Hollywood, Hollywood and East Hollywood are a part of. For more of these updates and then some, please follow the show on Apple or Spotify, then rate and review us!

And if you’d like to tune into the show from elsewhere, please see our RSS feed here: