Public comments from local organizations and residents submitted to the Los Angeles County Citizens Redistricting Commission this summer sent a uniform message to commissioners: Keep Los Angeles’s north county communities together.
Residents, the city of Santa Clarita, and the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp., or SCVEDC, told commissioners — tasked with redrawing the political boundaries for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ five districts — that the cities of Santa Clarita, Lancaster, Palmdale and surrounding unincorporated areas should fall into one supervisorial district.
“We urge the commission to place the city and Santa Clarita Valley within a compact district that includes the communities of north Los Angeles County, including the Antelope Valley, and northwest communities of the San Fernando Valley,” wrote Santa Clarita Mayor Bill Miranda in a July 20 letter to county commissioners.
These areas currently fall into the 5th Supervisorial District, represented by Kathryn Barger, and create what commenters called a “community of interest,” which the county defines as “a contiguous population that shares common social and economic interests.”
“For decades, north county cities and communities have partnered in advancing public transportation, responsible for land use development, public health and public safety initiatives,” wrote Holly Schroder, director of the SCVEDC, in a letter dated June 14. “It is in the best interests of the continuity of these initiatives that the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys be able to continue to advocate as one body.”
Combining communities of interest into one district allows for “effective and fair representation,” according to the county. Communities of interest do not take into consideration “relationships with political parties, incumbents or political candidates.”
“It is important to our community to remain separate from Santa Clarita City, yet we identify as members of the greater Santa Clarita Valley area,” said Hasley Canyon resident David Boyer of the Castaic community. “We do not wish to be separated or to have our district realigned.”
Hunt Braly, of Santa Clarita, commented that the SCV should be in the same district as the Antelope Valley.
“We are the (third) largest city in L.A. County and work closely with the unincorporated communities which surround us,” he wrote. “We also have similar interests with the Antelope Valley in northern L.A. County.”
The citizens redistricting commission held a public communities of interest hearing for the Santa Clarita Valley on June 14. More hearings have been held for other regions in the county and four more remain in August.
Redistricting occurs every ten years following the U.S. Census. The Census Bureau is anticipated to share data from the 2020 Census with the state sometime between Aug. 15 and Aug. 30.