San Gabriel Valley residents offered a message of logistical unity when delivering their thoughts on the yet-to-be-finished redistricting plans at a recent public input hearing in Whittier.
The 14-member California Redistricting Commission released draft plans for new congressional and state districts on June 10. The plans show new boundaries for California's 53 congressional districts, 40 state senate districts and 80 state assembly districts, as well as districts for the state Board of Equalization, which handles taxation issues.
The proposed face-lift for the state’s boundaries has raised plenty of questions and concerns, and Friday’s meeting was one of the commission’s efforts to address them.
Many of the more than 90 speakers at the hearing expressed confusion and disappointment at the draft maps, which feature boundaries that split some cities in half and, according to them, would group their cities with practical strangers.
One Arcadia resident spoke of the need to keep his city aligned with neighboring Monrovia and Sierra Madre. The proposed redistricting maps have Arcadia grouped more closely with cities to the west.
“Arcadia is a piece of a larger puzzle,” he said. “It doesn’t help to cut off the tab ends and try to juxtapose them into places they don’t fit.”
Another Arcadia resident said, “At first look, one might assume that all the communities in the shadow of the San Gabriel Mountains have similar interests. That’s simply not the case.”
Sierra Madre resident Sandra Siraganian provided a short history of Sierra Madre, Arcadia and Monrovia to the commission to express how they are communities of common interest.
“These communities remain linked to one another,” she said. “We share a hospital … our children have developed friendships.”
Marge Melody, an Altadena resident for 25 years, said she found lumping all the communities together in the massive proposed San Gabriel Foothills district “extremely perplexing.”
“Just because you border a forest doesn’t mean you have anything in common,” she said.
Brian Fuller, also of Altadena, proposed that the commission “divide the San Gabriel Mountains among natural boundaries” and also use Angeles Crest Highway as a dividing line.
The commissioners made no decisions at the hearing, and urged people to submit testimony and public comments online. The Whittier meeting is one of several in Southern California. To see where the commission will be going, check here. Also, click here for more information on the commission’s work.