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Politics: Redistricting commission shaves off some parts of the Santa Clarita Valley but keeps most

Posted: June 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

As requested, the Santa Clarita Valley remained mostly intact during the first round of redrawing legislative districts, according to preliminary maps released Friday.

But residents shouldn’t stop clamoring for what they want, said a member of the commission charged with drawing new maps to reflect 2010 U.S. Census figures.

“We did listen to Santa Clarita and we didn’t split Santa Clarita,” Commissioner Jodie Filkins-Webber said Friday.
“But if we do something right, we need to hear that we did something right.”

However, not all residents of the valley would necessary agree with Filkins-Webber that the area wasn’t split.

The proposed congressional district groups the “red” Santa Clarita Valley with fellow Republican strongholds in the Antelope Valley, as well as Simi Valley and Moorpark.

However, early maps indicate Newhall south of what appears on the congressional map to be at least Lyons Avenue, or perhaps as far north as Wiley Canyon Road, would be lost to the San Fernando Valley congressional district.

State Senate and Assembly districts would retain Newhall but jettison Agua Dulce and Acton.

The commission is charged with redrawing boundaries for the state Assembly, Senate and Board of Equalization districts and congressional districts.

On Friday, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission — the first-ever group of nonelected officials charged with redrawing the state’s electoral map — released its first draft of what commissioners believe best reflects 2010 census changes.

‘Funny’ and ‘odd’
The preliminary Senate map — which even Filkins-Webber called “funny” and “odd” and which local politicians predicted is likely to be redrawn — lumps Malibu on the Pacific Ocean with the Santa Clarita Valley and runs all the way up to the Los Angeles-Kern county line.

“It’s a long stretch, from the mountains to the sea; that’s an interesting map,” said Assemblyman Cameron Smyth.

“I am happy to see that the Santa Clarita Valley was kept whole,” he said. “I’m a little concerned, however, that there’s a split in the congressional district.”

The Senate map “looks like a gerrymandered seat,” said Scott Wilk, a College of the Canyons  trustee and likely Assembly candidate who has lobbied to keep Santa Clarita Valley intact.

Filkins-Webber refuted the suggestion that commissioners folded together staunch Republican communities such as Bell Canyon, Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley with the Santa Clarita Valley while shaving away traditionally Democratic areas into eastern San Fernando Valley.

“We didn’t even look at existing lines,” she said. “We operated from a clean slate.”

Make voices heard
Both Wilk and Smyth predict tough times ahead.

“The next two months are going to be the real test,” Smyth said. “You’re going to see a lot of folks not as happy with the maps as Santa Clarita (is) making their voices heard.”

“It’s going to get wild,” Wilk predicted. “It’s now going to get contentious, so we must remain vigilant and make sure our voices are still heard.”

The maps can be seen on the commission's website:

The state Assembly map can be accessed here.

The state Senate map can be accessed here.

The U.S. Congress map can be accessed here.

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