Mountain communities question representation
James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Posted: 06/19/2011 07:05:43 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – Crestline residents and other mountain dwellers were out in force Sunday afternoon, telling members of the California Citizens Redistrict Commission that they want to be represented by the same politicians who represent Lake Arrowhead and other mountain communities.

The commission held a public hearing Sunday to give Inland Empire residents a chance to weigh in on the first draft of new state Assembly, state Senate and congressional district maps.

Of the roughly 110 people who spoke at the nearly four-hour meeting, at least 15 were from Crestline or other mountain communities – a strong showing for areas that make up only a tiny fraction of the region’s population.

“If it’s mathematically possible, I’d like to see the entire mountain range, from the Cajon Pass to Angelus Oaks, in one district,” said Crestline resident Aaron Creighton. “If you can’t do that, the logical thing is to at least put from Crestline to Running Springs in the same district. You can’t separate Crestline from the Lake Arrowhead/Running Springs area.”

The first draft plan, released by the commission June 10, puts Crestline and Cedarpines Park in the same Senate and Assembly districts as San Bernardino and Rancho Cucamonga, while Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear and other mountain communities are in other districts – ones that include the High Desert.

Other mountain residents shared Creighton’s sentiment, saying even if all mountain communities can’t be put together, Crestline and Cedarpines Park should at least be in the same district as Lake Arrowhead.

“By splitting us apart, you’re actually splitting very tight-knit communities,” said Crestline resident Ken Nelson.

Sunday’s meeting, held at the San Bernardino County Government Center, was the first and only chance for Inland Empire residents to speak directly to commissioners about the proposed maps. The commission is traveling around the state hearing from Californians and will release another draft in July.

Final maps are due in August.

Commissioners heard from people representing communities as far away as Ridgecrest and the Pico-Union neighborhood of Los Angeles, but most of those who spoke were from San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

While mountain residents stole Sunday’s show – and were even praised by commission members – Redlands leaders and officials also packed the meeting.

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