By James Rufus Koren Staff Writer
Posted: 06/24/2011 04:35:50 PM PDT
The message delivered to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors was clear: Mountain residents want to be represented by a single supervisor.
At a meeting aimed at getting public input on how supervisorial districts should be redrawn, residents of Crestline, Lake Arrowhead and other mountain communities provided most of the public testimony, saying again and again that all of the communities in the San Bernardino Mountains should be kept together.
“It is one mountain,” said Crestline resident Steward Bibby. “We would be better served by having one supervisor at this time. If we had one supervisor on the mountain, I think we would be better represented.”
Communities in the San Bernardino Mountains are now split. Crestline, Valley of Enchantment, Crest Forest and Cedarpines Park are in the 2nd District, while all other mountain communities are in the 3rd.
The meeting on June 17 was an early step in the county’s redistricting process. Every 10 years, following the U.S. Census, counties and states must redraw the boundaries of their supervisorial and legislative districts to make sure districts have about the same number of residents.
San Bernardino County’s big but uneven growth over the past decade means the current supervisorial districts will have to shift quite a bit to add or subtract residents.
The sprawling 1st District, which includes most of the county’s desert region, must lose more than 58,000 people, while the 4th District, which represents the southwest corner of the county, will have to gain nearly 41,000.
The meeting gave county residents their first chance to weigh in on just how the supervisors should draw the lines.
Of the 17 people who spoke at the meeting, 11 were from the mountains. All 11 asked for a single district for the mountains.
“Crestline all the way up through Big Bear (Lake) should be in one district,” said Lake Arrowhead resident Harry Sherman. “The mountain communities are unique, with different problems than exist in other areas.”
He and other residents cited snow removal, road closures and fire risks as issues unique to mountain residents.
Based on a few example maps drawn by county staff and the county’s redistricting consultant, it seems altogether possible that mountain residents will get their wish.
Two of the county’s “discussion maps” – new drawings of district boundaries that county leaders said are not actual proposals, but rather examples aimed at starting a discussion – show the mountain communities all in one district.
A third shows what amounts to a second-best option for mountain residents: continuing to divide the mountain communities, keeping Crestline and other western mountain communities tied to Lake Arrowhead.
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