First published in the Jan. 22 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect state Sen. Anthony Portantino’s future representation of Burbank, which will continue until the end of his term in 2024.
Two Democratic state representatives are slated to run against each other this year to oversee Assembly District 44, which includes Burbank.
Both state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, who has represented Burbank since winning her seat in 2016, and Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, whose current district includes Sherman Oaks, Universal City and Van Nuys, have announced their candidacy for Assembly District 44. California’s redistricting process, which concluded in December, merged major portions of the representatives’ districts, effectively setting up a clash between the two politicians during this year’s elections.
Burbank, currently part of Assembly District 43, was redrawn into the 44th Assembly District, which includes north Glendale, Sunland-Tujunga and North Hollywood. New districts take effect with the June primaries, according to CalMatters, and will remain for the next decade.
A memo from the Burbank City Manager’s Office said that nearly 48% of Assembly District 44’s area consists of Friedman’s current district, while about 31% consists of Nazarian’s Assembly District 46.
The remaining area is currently part of Assemblywoman Luz Rivas’ district. The Los Angeles Daily News reported that she indicated she would relocate to the boundaries of the new 43rd Assembly District.
Eric Hacopian, a consultant with Nazarian’s campaign, said it was “unfortunate” that the new district lines is pitting two Assembly members against each other.
“The old systems … of the communities of interests being [put] together was much more rational than the current one,” he said.
Friedman’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment this week.
By law, the commission cannot consider current lawmakers’ locations when drawing districts. While the commission is instructed to avoid dividing cities, counties and communities of common interest, that legal guideline is a lower priority than drawing districts with roughly equal populations and ensuring the process doesn’t have a discriminatory effect. Because of how the redistricting commission drew the new lines, multiple state representatives will find themselves facing other incumbents — sometimes of the same political party — in this year’s election, CalMatters reported, while some districts will have no incumbent at all.
As of this week, Friedman’s reelection campaign had raised more than $130,000 in donations, according to the California Secretary of State’s Office, while Nazarian’s campaign had raised more than $24,000. Friedman’s 2020 election campaign raised about $737,000; Nazarian’s campaign for that year raised nearly $741,000.
Friedman chairs both the Assembly’s transportation committee and its sexual harassment prevention and response subcommittee. She is also the chair of the urban development special committee tasked with combating climate change, and sits on the budget and natural resources committees, among others.
Nazarian, who was elected to his seat in 2012, chairs the aging and long-term care committee and the special Assembly panel for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. His other committee duties include participating in the budget, health and transportation groups.
The redistricting process also changed Burbank’s state Senate district boundaries. State Sen. Anthony Portantino, the city’s current representative, will represent Burbank through 2024 along with a newly elected senator following this year’s elections. The new district, Senate District 20, includes Canoga Park, Van Nuys and Sylmar. Daniel Hertzberg, son of state Sen. Robert Hertzberg, is running to represent the district, as is Marine Corps veteran Caroline Menjivar.