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Senate Redistricting Divides City, Assembly, Congressional Districts Intact

redistricting_ca_headerThe last drafts of redistricting maps have been submitted to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission for a final vote and not everybody is happy.

The ‘preliminary final’ maps for State Assembly and Congressional districts leave most of Santa Clarita intact, but the proposed State Senate map divides parts of Valencia and Newhall into another district and creating a situation where City Hall and the local hospital – in reality only several blocks apart – will have different Senators speaking for them in Sacramento.

The maps presented must be certified by the Commission and presented to the Secretary of State by August 15. The new district lines will impact the 2012 through 2020 election cycles.

And according to commission spokesman Rob Wilcox, what you see is what we’re going to get.

“There will be no changes,” he emphasized. “People can advocate or protest the maps, but if the maps are rejected by the Commission, they would have to vote on the entire state, not just that particular district.”

Wilcox said that if a problem continues, then the maps would go to the state Supreme Court, who could appoint Special Masters to oversee any revisions.

The proposed 38th District Assembly map (here) includes an intact Santa Clarita, Castaic (stopping short of Pyramid Lake), Stevenson Ranch, Agua Dulce (but not Acton), parts of Granada Hills (following Devonshire to Topanga Canyon) and all of Simi Valley.

The proposed 25th District Congressional map (here) keeps Santa Clarita intact, includes most of the Antelope Valley (except for a portion of Quartz Hill) out to Highway 18; goes north to Frazier Park and includes parts of Porter Ranch (the boundary runs along the Ronald Reagan 118 freeway), but splits Simi Valley in half.

The proposed 21st District Senate map (here) goes north/east to include Victorville and Apple Valley as well as Lancaster and Palmdale, goes up to Frazier Park and includes Val Verde but divides Santa Clarita at Newhall Avenue. The dividing line follows Newhall Avenue to Wiley Canyon to Orchard Village to McBean Parkway and Magic Mountain Parkway, virtually dividing parts of old Valencia and some of the redevelopment areas of Newhall.

Senator Sharon Runner said that the problems with the commission could be traced to their roots in another part of the state.

“Unfortunately, the Redistricting Commission did not listen to the fine people of the Santa Clarita Valley; they did everything they could to testify how they wanted to stay together, how they wanted to make sure, the whole Santa Clarita Valley, not just the city of Santa Clarita, but Castaic and all the areas around there that had so much in common with each other could stay together,” Runner said.

“But unfortunately, this body, most of them are Northern California people, just didn’t get it. They didn’t even have a hearing in Santa Clarita, they had one in Lancaster and one in the San Fernando Valley, I was disappointed in that.”

“The maps are open for public comment and they have to decide for sure on August 15. I don’t think they’re going to change any of it from what I saw. They were pretty misguided, they hired people who didn’t have any experience, even though they had some really good options of using people who have done this in the past.

The good thing is that Tony (Strickland) and I work together pretty well on issues that affect the Santa Clarita Valley.

Santa Clarita Governmental Affairs Manager Mike Murphy said that the Senate boundaries aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

“I think there are a couple of things; from the standpoint where the council was advocating that the city of Santa Clarita remain as one, that map certainly doesn’t accomplish that objective, and certainly doesn’t accomplish the objective that the commission stated at the front end and that was to respect city boundaries. They did it with the Congressional and Assembly districts, I don’t know why they didn’t do that with the Senate districts.

“But the larger issue, at the end of the day, is not where the lines are drawn but how responsive are the representatives you have,” he continued. “In Santa Clarita, we’ve been very fortunate in that all of our federal and state representatives have been very responsive to whatever issues we’ve brought forward. That’s the more important issue than where the lines are exactly, what kinds of representation you end up with.

“We are in two senate districts and have been for 10 years. If you look at Senator Strickland and both George and Sharon Runner, they’ve all been very responsive to the city’s issues. While the preference is to be in one district, clearly our experience has shown that the city is divided among two districts and you can still get excellent representation.”

If you would like to comment on the maps, click here.