Molly Davis, Staff Writer
Posted: 06/22/2011 06:45:35 PM PDT

REDLANDS – Local officials are voicing concern over a plan to divide the city between two congressional districts.

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission’s current draft would cut Redlands in two, near the 10 Freeway, along the old railroad lines and down Center Street. Part of Redlands would be grouped with San Bernardino, Rialto, Highland, Loma Linda and other cities to the west, and the other half would be grouped with communities as far east as the Arizona border and as far north as Mono Lake.

“The district is larger in square miles than 11 separate states, including South Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Hawaii, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island,” Mayor Pete Aguilar said in a letter to the commission, which is also responsible for drawing the lines for state Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization districts.

But it’s not just the fact that part of Redlands would be grouped with areas stretching almost as far as Lake Tahoe. It’s that the city would be split at all.

“It makes no sense for the Beaver Medical Group location on Fern Avenue to be in one congressional district, while the parking lot they own across the street to be in the other congressional seat,” Aguilar said Wednesday.

“Residents on La Verne Street, Fern Avenue, Center Street, Crescent Avenue, and Alessandro Road send their children to the same schools and attend the same churches, and should not have separate congressional representatives,” he added.

Aguilar said that 70 percent of Redlands would end up being represented by one official expected to “be responsive to the needs of an area of 33,000 square miles.

“The practical impact is that Redlands would have to seek the support of two members of Congress for many issues, and our community would comprise just a small portion of each overall district.”

Rep. Jerry Lewis said that he too is concerned that the lines ignore the needs of the East Valley.

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