Chino Hills upset over proposed new district
Mediha Fejzagic DiMartino, Staff Writer
Created: 06/21/2011 09:04:41 PM PDT

CHINO HILLS – City officials say their suggestions to Citizens Redistricting Commission have fallen on deaf ears after the draft maps released this month divided the city between two congressional districts – one that includes Chino and Ontario and another that includes Diamond Bar and Rowland Heights.

“They have literally bifurcated the city,” City Manager Mike Fleager said. “It’s absolutely unacceptable.”

The city’s Assembly and Senate district borders remained intact in the draft maps – Chino Hills in its entirety would be in the districts represented now by state Sen. Bob Huff, R-Glendora, and Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills.

But the first draft map of congressional districts placed the southern half of
the city in what the maps call the new Ontario/Pomona District, while its northerly portion was included in the East San Gabriel/Diamond Bar District.

“Chino Hills shares no community interests with this Los Angeles County district, differing along all major lines, including regional issues, socioeconomics, race and ethnicity,” Mayor Ed Graham said in a letter sent in response to the commission’s proposal. “Chino Hills is strongly tied to the city of Chino and our neighbors in the West End of San Bernardino County. Maintaining our ties to this community of interest is vital to the welfare of our citizens and meets your own criteria to respect counties, cities, communities of interest and neighborhoods.

“We request that our entire city be located within one congressional district that encompasses primarily other San Bernardino communities.”

The letter also contained a list of “critical facts” that connect the city to San Bernardino County, including its contractual relationships with the Sheriff’s Department, its participation in the countywide library system as well as its ties to the San Bernardino-based Emergency Operations Center.

The city also faces similar water-delivery system challenges as its neighbor Chino, Graham said.

Chino and Chino Hills have developed joint entities such as Inland Empire Utilities Agency and Chino Desalter Authority to address their water needs.

“These services will not change, but the division will make it more complicated if the city needed the assistance from its congressional representatives,” said Joann Lombardo, Chino Hills’ director of community development. “It dilutes the city’s representation. Half of the city will be tied to Los Angeles County. It will be harder to get that congressional person’s ear to hear about Chino Hills’ issues.”

Both cities also rely on San Bernardino Association of Governments to solve regional transportation issues for their west end region.

“Imagine getting those dollars out of the feds when we are competing against L.A. and the Metro,” said Councilwoman Gwenn Norton-Perry, who attended Sunday’s redistricting commission meeting in San Bernardino. “It will be very hard to lobby against MTA and Metro to get what we need.”

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