California 33rd District
Since the Los Angeles riots of 1992 and 1965, the city has had to live down its reputation as being inhospitable to African-Americans, a problem exacerbated by racial tensions in the city’s infamous police department. But by other measures—levels of income and degree of residential integration with nonblacks—blacks in Los Angeles are doing better than blacks elsewhere in the United States. The city’s black-owned businesses have the highest revenues of any city in the nation. Among states, Californians have historically shown less prejudice toward African-Americans. And job opportunities in Los Angeles—up to and including the office of mayor for 20 years—have been relatively good for blacks. This is apparent in the hills just west of Crenshaw, an Art Deco neighborhood built in the 1920s and 1930s and the birthplace of West Coast hip-hop music. Here, in Baldwin Hills, where on clear days one can see the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains, is a high-income African-American neighborhood. Near Windsor Hills along Slauson Avenue are other comfortable black-majority neighborhoods. In the more run-down Crenshaw area, former L.A. Lakers basketball player Magic Johnson built his successful multiplex theaters. On the site of the old Ambassador Hotel, the Los Angeles Unified School District decided to build a school rather than approve retail shops. To the north at Hollywood Boulevard, near the tourist mecca of the famed Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, a huge new complex includes the Kodak Theater, which hosts the Oscars and many television and award events, including the finals of the Fox network’s American Idol program.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
These parts of central Los Angeles are the heart of the 33rd Congressional District, which is bisected by the Santa Monica Freeway, and runs from the Golden State Freeway southwest to the economically revived Culver City and almost to Venice on the Pacific Ocean. It includes most of Koreatown, centered on Western Avenue and Olympic Boulevard, which has become a hub for the city’s cultural and business life and an investment opportunity for many South Koreans. It takes in some of Hollywood and the affluent Los Feliz neighborhoods. Its population in 2007 was 37% Hispanic, 27% black, and 12% Asian. But many of the district’s Latinos are not citizens or registered voters, and a majority of Democratic primary voters are African-American. This is one of the most Democratic districts in the nation: John Kerry got 83% of the vote in 2004, and Barack Obama got 87% in 2008.