As a City Council panel began public hearings Monday for proposed new boundaries for council districts, attorneys for two disgruntled members sent a letter laying the groundwork for a potential lawsuit.
The City Council's Rules and Election Committee, meeting in San Pedro, held a public hearing lasting less than 35 minutes in which there was general support voiced for the redistricting map developed by a citizens commission.
At the same time, attorneys for Council members Bernard Parks and Jan Perry sent a letter to City Attorney Carmen Trutanich questioning the legality of the new map and whether it was drawn based on racial issues.
"The evidence amply demonstrates that a driving motivation behind the commission's plan was to segregate voters into districts based upon race," wrote attorney Nathan Lowenstein with Goldberg, Lowenstein and Weatherwax of Century City.
In addition, Lowenstein said the citizens commission failed to follow city requirements that districts be based on equal population, that neighborhoods and communities not be split and that districts be compact.
Lowenstein said the commission was forced to contort the boundaries of the 14th Council District in order to make certain changes.
Parks and Perry have complained about the process from the start and believe the districts proposed for them take away traditional areas they have represented.
Two other City Council hearings on the redistricting map are scheduled, with one at 4 Tuesday at Van Nuys City Hall, 14451 Sylvan St., Van Nuys.