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Concerns raised over proposed Assembly district

La Cañada could share state representative with Rancho Cucamonga, 40 miles away.

June 28, 2011|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com

A proposal by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to include La Cañada Flintridge and neighboring Foothills communities in a new state Assembly District that would stretch all the way to San Bernardino County has sparked concerns that the city could lose some of its pull in Sacramento.

Currently, La Cañada is part of the 44th Assembly District, which also includes Pasadena, South Pasadena, Altadena, Arcadia and Temple City.

The proposed future San Gabriel Mountain Foothills District, which includes much of the Angeles National Forest, stretches much further east. In that district, La Cañada and La Crescenta would share representation with communities that include Altadena, Sierra Madre, Duarte, Azusa, Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne and two San Bernardino County cities — Upland and Rancho Cucamonga, some 40 miles away.

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The idea that communities of the 818, 626 and 909 telephone area codes would share the same voice in the state Assembly is a bit of a geographic stretch, La Cañada City Councilwoman Laura Olhasso said during a recent meeting of the council.

“When I saw this, it certainly didn’t look to be in keeping together communities of interest,” said Olhasso. “I really am concerned about having an Assembly district that extends from La Crescenta to Rancho Cucamonga. If it does, I think this is a throwaway Assembly district.”

Olhasso pitched the idea that council members should petition commission members to reconsider Assembly district boundaries, but couldn’t find consensus on an alternative to recommend.

Councilman Donald Voss suggested they consider advocating for La Cañada to become part of a proposed Pasadena/Glendale district, which would preserve unity in local matters and keep to calls for communities that share an Assembly district also share a state senator.

Under that scenario, however, Olhasso and Councilman Steve Del Guercio worried that La Cañada’s political influence would be overshadowed by that of the two larger communities.

“If we got lumped into Glendale, we might not have the same kind of voice,” Del Guercio said. “My main focus is how we will be most effective. That in mind, I’m still troubled by a district that goes all the way to Rancho Cucamonga, but I don’t think the solution is dropping us into Pasadena and Glendale. Then our voice is really lost.”

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