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Locals hope SCV kept in one district

Government: More than a dozen residents attend meeting in Lancaster about new boundaries

Posted: May 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.

LANCASTER — State commissioners working to redraw California’s electoral map asked local residents Sunday, the second day of their information-gathering tour, to describe the Santa Clarita Valley’s growth.

Responding to more than a dozen SCV residents who pleaded with the California Redistricting Commission to keep their valley within one assembly district,  commissioners asked about the SCV’s population and about the 21,000 homes, known as Newhall Ranch, slated to be built west of Interstate 5.

Santa Clarita City Councilman Frank Ferry tried to put recent numbers into perspective for the committee.

“There are currently 40,000 approved homes that have not been built and it takes up to two years to annex them into our city,” he said. “ We share a common boundary with this unincorporated area of the Santa Clara Valley both geographically, socially, economically, a watershed, water district, high school district  ... so it’s very important to us that the city of Santa
Clarita, that our valley, be kept whole because of all these common interests we share.

“I know one of the commissioners stated that ‘the numbers aren’t there now’ but we are one of the fastest growing communities in the state of California,” Ferry said.

Ferry invited the commission to hold one its later hearings in Santa Clarita.

In all, about a dozen people from the Santa Clarita Valley made the trek Sunday to the commission hearing held at the Sierra Toyota dealership in Lancaster.

Common interests
If the Santa Clarita Valley was to be partnered with another community, then local attendees asked that it be partnered with Piru, Fillmore, Simi Valley and Porter Ranch.

Each of the communities, they told the commission, share a similar urban-to-rural mix of interests and similar demographics.

“These communities interact with us on a continual basis and have communities that mirror ours,” said Alice Khosravy, of Stevenson Ranch. “Grouping these areas together would help ensure that all the communities mentioned get representation from someone who understands the issues of the district and is close enough to be accessible to the residents.”

Khosravy, and others sitting with her, listed the Santa Clara River watershed as one of those common issues.

Wendy Albright, of the Santa Clarita Valley, told the commission she would hate for the Santa Clarita Valley “to be broken up.”

“We know Antelope Valley can take care of itself,“ she said. “The Santa Clarita Valley is growing and we can take care of ourselves as well.

“We don’t need to be part of something else.”

New districts
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, based on 2010 U.S. Census data.

On Saturday, the commission held a public meeting at San Fernando City Hall and heard from residents mostly in communities in the San Fernando Valley.

Scott Wilk was the only speaker who received applause both days, after urging commissioners to keep the Santa Clarita Valley in the same assembly district.

“We, for too long, have been dominated by L.A. Basin or by Bakersfield, which is 90 miles away,” he said. “These people here deserve their own assembly district and I really encourage you to do that.”

After the applause for Wilk stopped, one commissioner asked him: “Somebody mentioned 40,000 homes in there.”

Wilk answered: “That’s why, for me personally, its really important for regional planning and working with Ventura County because there’s going to be a lot of issues with transportation, water, what have you.”

The commissioner closed out his comments making a second note about Newhall Ranch.

The commission was still asking questions about population size late in the day when Santa Clarita Valley resident Joel Moser made his pitch for a plan including Piru, Fillmore, Porter Ranch and Simi Valley.


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