When City Hall Speaks, Citizen Redistricting Commission Listens
The Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC) is sharpening their pencils to start redrawing district lines. However, before they put the lines down in pen, they’re holding public meetings for cities like Santa Clarita to express their position.
Mayor Pro Tem Laurie Ender spoke before the 14 commissioners at a hearing last Saturday in San Fernando. Council Member Frank Ferry spoke before the commissioners at another session in the Antelope Valley on Sunday.
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Mike Murphy, the city’s Intergovernmental Relations Officer spoke with KHTS who explained the Council Members’ three-pronged approach:
“First of all they asked the commission not to divide the city of SC into multiple districts. That they wanted to see the city remain in one congressional district, state senate district, one state assembly district, one board of equalization district.”
The council then asked the commission keep the entire SCV in two single districts and not divide the valley. Currently the city of Santa Clarita is divided into two senate districts, and the Santa Clarita Valley is divided into two senate districts and two assembly districts.
The third item the council requested is that the commission try to make the districts as compact as possible, recognizing that Santa Clarita doesn’t have enough population to form its own district and that the city would have to be paired with another region, possible the Antelope Valley, eastern Ventura County or into the communities of Granada Hills, Northridge and Chatsworth.
Murphy says the commissioners were “very interactive” with the speakers and he believes they walked away with a very clear understanding of Santa Clarita’s position.
“It’s very clear the commissioners very much want to honor as many requests as they can to keep communities together, understand what those communities are and really try to do the best possible job they can to meet the mandates they have, by law in terms of drawing the districts, but also meet the desire of communities of interest to be kept together.”
Every 10 years, after the federal census, California must redraw the boundaries of its Senate, Assembly, and State Board of Equalization districts, to reflect the new population data. In the past, those boundary lines were drawn by members of the California Legislature; now they will be drawn by a new Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC).
California voters authorized the creation of the CRC when they passed the FIRST Act (Proposition 11) on the November 2008 general election ballot.
The first round of draft maps will be released in June. Final district maps must be certified by the Commission and presented to the Secretary of State by August 15, 2011.
The new district lines will impact the 2012 through 2020 election cycles.