Here’s how Upland and Rancho Cucamonga could gain influence over neighboring forest lands – Daily Bulletin

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With the redistribution underway, a push is being made to connect the western part of the San Bernardino National Forest with communities in the adjacent foothills that are forced to deal with overflowing forest issues such as access to trails, forest management. water, forest fires, traffic and vandalism.

But making a formal link in Congress between the communities of Upland and Rancho Cucamonga with the vast federal forest lands north of their borders is not as easy as tying a knot.

Because the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission must take into account the voting rights of minority communities, keeping districts equal in population and other factors, require that a member of Congress represent the adjacent forest as well as the towns in the foothills. neighbors do not always match.

In fact, as it stands, the congressional districts around the towns in the West Valley are a tangled mishmash, often leaving the mountains – important federal recreational lands used by millions of people – to float. alone.

For example, the San Gabriel Mountains in the San Bernardino National Forest are in the 8th District of Congress, a huge district that stretches all the way to Death Valley and includes Hesperia and Barstow but not Upland and Rancho Cucamonga.

Likewise, Upland, a town of 80,000 people, is divided between the 27th and 31st Congressional Districts, represented respectively by Judy Chu, D-Pasadena and Pete Aguilar, D-Redlands. Rancho Cucamonga, population 176,379, is also located in the Aguilar district. But if either city wants to talk about forestry issues, they should go to Representative Jay Obernolte, R-Big Bear, in the 8th arrondissement.

Upland City Councilor Janice Elliott sees this as a disconnect in representation for the immediate region. Acting as a private citizen, she wrote a letter to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission 2020 requesting that Upland and Rancho Cucamonga be in the same congressional district as the San Gabriels who are found in parts of the Angels and Angels National Forests. San Bernardino.

“These communities in the foothills south of the San Gabriel Mountains share many common traits and a very important relationship with our adjacent San Gabriel Mountains. This makes our cities “communities of interest,” which should be in the same congressional district as the San Bernardino Mountains. So we have a member of Congress who represents our interest in the management and protection of the forest, ”Elliott wrote.

Elliott, who sits on the board of directors of West End Consolidated Water Co. which pumps groundwater to the foothills, says runoff from the forest could affect water quality. In addition, Upland owns 74% of the San Antonio Water Co. and has a vested interest in mountain water runoff, water quality and quantity.

In Cucamonga Canyon, Elliott was part of a Sierra Club clean-up in which old cars were removed from the creek.

“Waste affects the water. All the oil and fuel is dumped in Cucamonga Creek, ”she said in an interview.

She would prefer that the boundary of the 31st District of Aguilar be redrawn to encompass neighboring forest lands. She said Upland and Rancho Cucamonga already have a relationship with Aguilar as he represents residents of both.

“Whoever occupies this office, I would like it to represent that part of the mountains as well,” she said.

Cucamonga Canyon has been closed by the US Forest Service for almost 10 years due to fires and, since it is not a loop, to get people out of the canyon in the event of a forest fire. In addition, when it opened in 2014, thousands of visitors blocked the road and caused parking risks. Access to this canyon is considered by many to be as much a city issue as it is a US Forest Service issue. Having a representative in Congress who knows the cities and this part of the forest could help with access issues, she said.

John Monsen is a Sierra Club member hired as a consultant by a nonprofit called Nature For All to advocate for the redistribution of congressional boundaries in the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests to include neighboring towns. . He described the formation of the 8th arrondissement in 2011 as a “serious mistake”.

“Congressional District 8 had gone mad,” Monsen said. “The nearest town, regardless of its size, is Hesperia. They have no interest in knowing how (the forest) is managed. The people who care about the way it is run are not in the neighborhood.

Another example of an odd line drawing is Mt. Baldy Village, which is divided between two congressional districts. Two thirds of residents are in the 8th arrondissement and one third in the 27th arrondissement. Upland is a short drive from Mount Baldy.

Upland Mayor Bill Velto has said he will not tell Rancho Cucamonga or Mt. Baldy Village who should represent them in Congress. “I would leave it to them to do it,” he said.

Also, he said, having two or three members of Congress to turn to can be an advantage. He said Obernolte knows forest land because he lives in Big Bear, a mountain community in the San Bernardino National Forest. In his Sept. 6 statement on shutting down US Forest Service forests in the state to prevent fires, Obernolte blamed “poor forest management practices that have left over 80 million acres of overgrown national forests, prone to fires and in urgent need of active resources. management.”

Monsen said congressional districts that correspond to the forest with the towns in the foothills are appropriate because the forest is federal land.

“You can’t go to your mayor or your state senator,” Monsen said. “They have no authority.”

By attracting districts to couple forest land with adjacent towns, people living nearby can speak to their representative, leading to greater local influence on day-to-day forestry issues, he said.

“The more big cities that influence the forest, the better,” Monsen added.

New congressional district lines will be drawn in September and October, according to Monsen. The maps will be available for review at the end of October.

The information is available at wedrawthelinesca.org.

Upland will hold a public hearing on the matter at 7:20 p.m. on Monday, September 13 in the City Hall Council Chamber, 460 N. Euclid Ave.


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