CITY OF SANTA CLARITA
PRESENTATION BY COUNCIL MEMBER FRANK FERRY
TO THE CALIFORNIA CITIZENS REDISTRICTING COMMISSION
MAY 1, 2011
Good afternoon Members of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. I am Councilmember Frank Ferry, representing the City of Santa Clarita. Santa Clarita is located in north Los Angeles County and is home to 176,320 residents. The City is located within a separate geographical area known as the Santa Clarita Valley and is totally surrounded by unincorporated Los Angeles County. The Santa Clarita Valley is bordered on three sides by the mountains of the Angeles National Forest and Santa Clarita Woodlands state park.
At the Santa Clarita City Council meeting of April 26, 2011, the Council voted unanimously to request that the following information be presented to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission regarding our community's preferences relative to the redistricting process.
First, we understand that the Commission has established, as one of its key criteria in the redistricting process, that political subdivisions, including cities, communities of interest and neighborhoods be kept in tact. The Santa Clarita City Council requests that the City of Santa Clarita be placed within only one Congressional, State Senate, Assembly, and Board of Equalization district and not divided among two or more districts. Currently, the City of Santa Clarita is split between two State Senate districts. By placing the City within single districts, the Commission will successfully meet one of your key criteria.
Second, the Santa Clarita City Council requests that the entire Santa Clarita Valley be placed within only one Congressional, State Senate, Assembly, and Board of Equalization district and not divided among two or more districts. Currently, in addition to the two Senate districts which divide the City, the neighborhoods of the Santa Clarita Valley find themselves divided between two Assembly Districts. The population of the City of Santa Clarita and the surrounding unincorporated areas of the Santa Clarita Valley is approximately 260,000 people. Since the valley is a self-contained geographic area, the residents of the incorporated and unincorporated areas share many unifying conditions, including geographic, economic, social, climatic, watershed and political boundaries.
One of the most important bonds shaping the future of our community is coming through a joint planning process between the City of Santa Clarita and Los Angeles County that we refer to as "One Valley, One Vision." This joint partnership is enabling both jurisdictions to update our individual General Plans to strengthen the common goals shared by all the residents of the Santa Clarita Valley. Again, by placing the entire Santa Clarita Valley community within single districts, the Commission will be able to successfully meet one of its key criteria and preserve important neighborhood connections.
While the first two points which I presented are the primary preferences of the City Council, I want to outline areas in which more flexibility exists. The City Council recognizes that neither the City of Santa Clarita, nor the entire Santa Clarita Valley contains enough population to form single legislative districts and that we will need to be paired with other communities. Given that Congressional, State Senate and Assembly districts are comprised of different sized populations, we would like to suggest a wider area from which those individual districts could be drawn. In attempting to meet one of your stated goals to try and respect county boundaries and given Santa Clarita's shared transportation corridors, open space preservation areas, and economic development interests with other communities, we believe it is appropriate to pair the Santa Clarita Valley with other areas in north Los Angeles County. These communities should include the unincorporated areas of north Los Angeles County, the Antelope Valley cities of Lancaster and Palmdale, and if necessary to meet population criteria, include neighborhoods in the northwestern San Fernando Valley portion of the City of Los Angeles.
The City Council also understands that the Commission may need to draw districts that cross county lines. Should that be necessary in constructing specific legislative districts that include Santa Clarita, we believe it is most appropriate to draw those lines to include portions of eastern Ventura County. The Santa Clara River and its watershed are an important natural resource to the City of Santa Clarita and the communities west of us in Ventura County. Additionally, Castaic Lake Water Agency, one of the 29 state water project contractors, serves both Santa Clarita and portions of Ventura County, thus creating an integral connection on the important issue of water for our region. Finally, Santa Clarita shares a rich historical heritage, tourism connection, regional trails linkages, and strong open space preservation interest with our neighbors in Ventura County.
>I know that my colleague, Mayor Pro Tem Laurie Ender, spoke to you yesterday and provided copies of Santa Clarita's testimony and a regional map that delineates the preferred communities with which Santa Clarita shares strong common bonds and from which we request that Santa Clarita be paired. It is our hope that you will be able to use this map as a flexible tool for creating districts that ensure that the City of Santa Clarita and Santa Clarita Valley are placed within single districts and appropriately join us with communities where we share a variety of common interests.
Finally, on behalf of the residents of Santa Clarita and the City Council, I would like to reiterate the request that the Commission hold a hearing in Santa Clarita after the first draft maps are released for public review. There is a strong interest in our area to have the Citizens Redistricting Commission come to the Santa Clarita Valley and hear first hand from our residents about their views on the redistricting process.
On behalf of the Santa Clarita City Council, thank you for allowing me to share our perspective with you today.