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Silva: H.B. shouldn't be split

Assemblyman voices displeasure with maps that would divide city into two Senate, Assembly districts.

August 03, 2011|By Michael Miller, michael.miller@latimes.com

Assemblyman Jim Silva voiced opposition Wednesday to the proposed maps that would split Huntington Beach into two Assembly and Senate districts.

Silva (R-Huntington Beach) said if the California Citizens Redistricting Commission passes the changes, Huntington could end up with representatives who have limited understanding of the region.

"You'd take a chance on getting a senator who doesn't understand the coast," he said. "It could be a senator from Santa Ana, for example, or a senator from Irvine. They've never dealt with coastal issues."

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The public can review the maps until the commission votes to adopt them Aug. 15, according to the commission's site.

Rob Wilcox, the commission's director of communications, said the maps will take effect for the June primary unless the state Supreme Court or a federal district court issues an order that precludes their use.

The drafted maps draw a horizontal line roughly through the middle of the city, with downtown and the southeastern industrial areas on one side and Bolsa Chica and Golden West College on the other. Paul Dress, Silva's chief of staff, said the change could be jarring after Silva's many years presiding over the area.

"He's represented Huntington Beach for over 20 years as a supervisor and as a mayor and City Council member and now the Assembly, so losing any part of Huntington Beach would be a pretty major change," he said.

Silva presides over the 67th District, which also covers Seal Beach, Cypress and other cities. The redistricting maps on the website for Meridian Pacific, a political consulting firm, identify Silva as the assemblyman for the proposed 72nd District, which would cover the upper two-thirds of Huntington.

The Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce sent an email blast Thursday asking residents to go to the commission's website and post comments opposing the split.

"The map that came out today splits the city of Huntington Beach in half for our state Assembly and Senate seats," the email states. "This means that Huntington Beach will lose its representation in both houses in the state Legislature. As the fourth largest city in Orange County we need to have a vote!"

Chamber President Jerry Wheeler said dividing Huntington would result in the opposite of the commission's goal, which is to draw fair districts that reflect the best interest of residents.

"We'd lose our representation in both the Assembly and Senate," he said. "That certainly doesn't bode well for Huntington Beach and certainly the business community, which needs every bit of representation we can muster at the Senate and Assembly level."

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