Upland, R.C. say they would lose influence
Wendy Leung, Staff Writer
Created: 07/19/2011 05:15:47 PM PDT

Rancho Cucamonga and Upland are among the cities joining a vast number of municipalities and ethnic groups disappointed at the current maps released by the Citizens Redistricting Commission.

The maps, which are being updated this week ahead of the commission’s Thursday meeting, split Rancho Cucamonga into two Senate districts and put Upland in Senate and Assembly districts with Los Angeles County cities.

An earlier draft of the congressional map had also split Chino Hills and Redlands into two districts but the current revision keeps both cities whole.

According to the most recent draft of state Senate district maps, a northwest portion of Rancho Cucamonga – primarily west of Haven Avenue and north of Lemon Avenue – is in a separate district from the rest of the city. The northwest corner comprises about 22,000 residents, about one-eighth of the city’s population.

“We’re basically perplexed the commission had taken a northwest corner and put it up to Los Angeles County with communities as far as 50 miles away,” Rancho Cucamonga Councilman Sam Spagnolo said. “We share no common bond with them.”

Last week, Spagnolo spoke to the commission at a Sacramento meeting, urging its members to keep the city whole. He said the residents in the northwest corner would not have a voice with policies at the state level.

The commission on Thursday will meet on the details of new map revisions scheduled to be released today. The 14-member commission is expected to have an initial vote on the maps on July 29 before giving final approval Aug. 15.

In 2008, voters passed Proposition 11, which took the responsibility of redrawing legislative districts from state legislators and give it to a citizens commission. The commission is bounded by a number of laws including population requirements and the Voting Rights Act when crafting new boundaries.

Peter Yao, a former Claremont mayor and a member of the redistricting commission, said the Voting Rights Act states that a district with a minority group as a majority can not be redrawn so as to disenfranchise or dilute the power of the minority vote.

In the case of the Inland Valley, Fontana, Pomona, Montclair and Ontario are cities with predominantly Latino populations. They are known as Section 2 districts, meaning they cannot be split up and lumped in with cities that do not have a significant minority population.

“So you have a few cities in the north including Rancho Cucamonga and Upland in the San Bernardino County that are isolated from the Section 2 districts because they don’t have a high enough Latino population,” Yao said.

The Voting Rights Act coupled with requirements for each district to have a certain number of residents are the reasons why some cities are split while others are included in districts of a different county.

Upland City Manager Stephen Dunn said he does not mind that the city shares a district with Claremont and the Pomona Valley. However, the current map puts Upland in a district that stretches across the San Gabriel Valley including the foothill communities of Sierra Madre and Altadena.

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