Realigning the supervisorial districts

Nov 4, 2021 | Front Page

By Douglas W. Motley
Senior Writer

Some two dozen mountain area residents, and others by way of Zoom, attended a San Bernardino County supervisorial district realignment meeting at San Moritz Lodge on Wednesday, Oct. 27, hosted by the County Realignment Commission.

The west end mountain communities are currently in District 2, represented by Supervisor Janice Rutherford, who will be termed out and cannot run for that office again.

Using the information gathered in the 2020 census, this commission will realign the supervisors’ district boundaries to reflect the ethnic diversity of the county and have each supervisor represent a balanced district. The commission will submit their findings to the board of supervisors, who need to choose a map for elections of supervisors for the next decade.

Following a prayer and Pledge of Allegiance ceremony led by Pastor Bill Mellinger, from the Crestline First Baptist Church, several speakers came to the lectern to give their input. First up was Mike Harris, publisher of The Alpine Mountaineer, who said, “I have been living in Crestline for 40 years and have had the benefit of working with Supervisor Janice Rutherford, and I believe it is most important to have all the mountain communities united into one district.”

Next up was former San Bernardino County Code Enforcement Supervisor Greg Rice, who stated, “I think it’s important to keep like-minded people in one district.”

Projected on a large screen were images of the five proposals for realigning the district boundaries, which would reposition districts within the county. The various proposals were presented to the audience, with the mountain communities being proposed to be included in new supervisorial Districts 1 through 3.

In one of the proposals, District 1 would include the communities of Adelanto and Apple Valley to the north, Pinon Hills and Wrightwood on the west, Crestline, Lake Arrowhead and Running Springs on the southern boundary and Big Bear City, Twentynine Palms and Needles on the eastern edge of the map.

In another proposal, District 2 would be similar to the county’s current 2nd District lines, and include Running Springs to Crestline, Lytle Creek and Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana. Big Bear would remain in District 3, as it is now.

In a separate proposal for District 3, Crestline would be on the western edge of the district, with the district going eastward toward Big Bear and Twenty-Nine Palms and continuing eastward to Big River on the Colorado River.
Another proposal for District 3 would include the mountain communities from Crestline to Big Bear, parts of Redlands, Twentynine Palms and northward to Lucerne Valley and Barstow, then eastward to the Colorado River communities of Needles and southward along the Colorado River to Big River.

Another proposal which apparently proposed to unite the mountain communities with the northern desert communities, seemed to split off Crestline but it was difficult on the map to determine which district Crestline would be included in.

Greg Rice returned to the lectern during public comment and said, “You have five categories of priorities. When we talked about Big River’s Native Indian population, they noted that the Colorado River is currently below its normal level and we found that they share similar issues as us, like water and septic systems.”

Penny Shubnell, who has resided in Crestline for 27 years and is a former president of the local senior citizens club and serves on the county’s Crest Forest Municipal Advisory Council, recommended keeping the 2nd District as it is currently configured. Because of its large geographical area and relatively small population, the district needs someone who understands the uniqueness of the area to represent the mountains.

“In my heart and soul,” Shubnell said, “I believe the current district should be the same as it is, not with three different supervisors representing the mountain, as that dilutes any power the mountain people’s opinion has.”
Aaron Cool Creighton said that 10 years ago the supervisors agreed to keep it to two supervisors, noting that although they don’t always vote the same way with one another on the mountain, they do reflect the mountain’s opinion.

Bruce Cort Daniels, a 38-year resident of Running Springs, said, “It’s very important to identify with the People of the Pines (San Manuel tribe), who are not included in our district, even though they were here before us. We need someone who is a mountain resident to represent us. Our environment is what holds us together.” He pointed out that historically the mountains are intrinsically connected with the San Bernardino Valley including Redlands through Highways 18 and 330 which head south.

“Our economy is connected with visitors from the Los Angeles basin area, not the High Desert,” Daniels added. “There’s a lot of difference between us and Big Bear. However, we just need to work together to solve anything. I would like to thank the commissioners for inviting us to be here today.”

The commission president then announced that this realignment item would not be sent directly to the board of supervisors and, instead, would be calendared for the commission’s Tuesday, Nov. 2 meeting at the Ontario Museum of History for additional public comment.



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