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Locals discuss district desires

Community crowds City Hall in San Fernando to voice concerns over representation in government

Posted: May 1, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 1, 2011 1:55 a.m.

SAN FERNANDO — Santa Clarita Valley residents described their community as the “orphan” no one is talking about — or even thinking about — to the California Redistricting Commission on Saturday during the first of two meetings set to gather local input from the region.

Scores of residents waited their turns in a crowded room at San Fernando City Hall for a chance to urge the special commission to preserve their communities.

The commission, made up of 14 members from across the state, is tasked with redrawing the electoral map of California based on 2010 U.S. Census data and statewide input.

Santa Clarita Valley residents made the trek south to have their voices heard at the meeting, one of a series being held throughout the state to address community concerns about representation in the state and federal legislatures. A second meeting is scheduled today in Lancaster from 2-5 p.m.

B.J. Atkins of the Newhall County Water District was one of approximately 100 at the standing-room-only meeting who turned out to speak and observe.

Santa Clarita Valley residents joined others from places like Tarzana, Northridge and Glendale in urging commissioners to recognize their respective neighborhoods when re-drawing its political map of California.

“I feel like the orphan here,” local lobbyist Scott Wilk told the commission. “Because it doesn’t seem anyone wants us.”

Wilk voiced his support for plans that would include Piru and Fillmore in any new designs to represent local interests in Sacramento and Washington.

“We share the same watershed,” he pointed out.

When commissioners asked about including the town of Santa Paula in that district, Wilk suggested that perhaps the people of Santa Paula would be more inclined to consider themselves part of a coastal plan.

With the exception of a couple of voices of people from Piru and Fillmore, the only ones who talked about including Santa Clarita Valley in future maps of joint representation were those from the Santa Clarita Valley.

One of those lone voices of support from outside Santa Clarita was Laurie Nowland, a real estate agent from Simi Valley.

“When I look in the mirror, I see Santa Clarita,” she told the commission. “We have similar shops, similar land values.
If we had to be aligned, I would like to see Simi Valley aligned with Santa Clarita.”

Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Laurie Ender presented the city’s point of view to the commission,  asking for the SCV to remain undivided among legislative and congressional districts. City Councilman Frank Ferry is expected to present the same position today in Lancaster.

These are the two closest scheduled stops to Santa Clarita on the commission’s statewide tour. 

The commission is charged with re-drawing boundaries for the state’s Assembly, Senate and Board of Equalization districts, as well as U.S. congressional districts.

Dan Masnada, general manager of the Castaic Lake Water Agency, provided members of the commission with a copy of a resolution approved by its board of directors.

“The Castaic Lake Water Agency board of directors requests that the agency’s service area be incorporated into one Assembly district,” Masnada told the commission.

In his pitch to have the agency kept within one district, he noted the all-encompassing general plan of Santa Clarita city officials — One Valley, One Vision — and talked of the significance of 21,000 new homes to be built for Newhall Ranch.

“This will be a community built in our service area,” he said.

He stressed the importance of preserving the common interests shared by those on the Santa Clara River.

“The same Assembly district, or at least the same (state) Senate district, would enhance the ability to address water-supply and water-quality issues of mutual concern,” he said.


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