South Pasadena resident Priya Sridharan has been selected to serve as one of 14 members of the LA County Redistricting Commission (CRC). After the 2020 census is complete, the CRC will be responsible for adjusting the boundaries of county supervisor districts. It must ensure the five districts are reasonably equal in population and issue a final map by Dec. 5, 2021 along with a report explaining its decisions.
“It is an incredibly complicated and interesting process, an extraordinary way to learn about a place quantitatively from data and qualitatively from people,” Sridharan told the South Pasadenan News, saying that’s what she enjoys about it.
The CRC will hold a series of public meetings to take community input and use that along with maps and data to assemble districts that take into consideration differences in politics, age, ethnicity, race, geography and factors.
Currently Associate Dean for Graduate Programs & Strategic Initiatives at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Sridharan served for a year as a legislative deputy to then-Councilmember Eric Garcetti and three years as a Los Angeles deputy city attorney.
She was one of 741 people who applied this year to serve on the CRC.
Under a 2016 state law, the county Registrar-Recorder narrowed the list down to the 60 most qualified applicants. Eight of those were selected in a random drawing Nov 27. Those eight held 10 hours of meeting through Dec. 28 to select six others from the remaining list of 52 names. That’s when Sridharan was chosen. Three of the eight commissioners—Nelson Obregon, Jean Franklin and Brian Stecher — put her name on their proposed slate of candidates.
The law provides these six be chosen “based on relevant experience, analytical skills, ability to be impartial” and to reflect the county’s “racial, ethnic, geographic, and gender diversity.” Political party preference is also a factor. Sridharan is Asian Indian, female, a Democrat, lives in the 5th District and was assigned an “evaluation” score of 8.5 out of 10. Although not statutory, commissioners also considered her relatively young age (45) and membership in the LGBTQ community.
In addition, after the 2000 census Sridharan — then a voting rights attorney with the Asian Pacific American Legal Center — worked with Latino and African American groups in the redistricting process for State Assembly districts. She performed legal education and mapping workshops to gather and analyze community suggestions. She helped formulate qualitative analyses of proposed districts, using traditional redistricting factors, communities of interest, regional policy issues and the Voting Rights Act.
Prior to joining Loyola in 2014 Sridharan, who got her JD at UC Berkeley School of Law, spent nine years as an administrator at the USC Gould School of Law.
She has lived in South Pasadena since 2006.
The CRC will be staffed by a contract executive director and its legal counsel will be Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, which is also the contract legal firm for the City of South Pasadena.