The new California assembly map for District 71, which includes much of San Diego County.

Welcome to redistricting, the 2012 version. As the 2012 political campaigns begin to draw attention, Idyllwild has to adjust and focus southward when considering its next Assembly representative.

Historically, Idyllwild has been part of state and federal districts that ran east and west. For example, the new Congressional District 36 replaces Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack’s District 45. Nevertheless, it still stretches from Blythe in the east to Hemet and Beaumont and from the northern and southern county lines. The county’s third supervisorial district still runs from the Hill west to Murrieta.

Brian Jones currently represents California’s Assembly District 77. Photo courtesy of Brian Jones
But the new state Assembly District is a triangular shape. The top point, or most northern edge, is just beyond Pine Cove. The rest of the district is due south. Valle Vista, Pinyon, Anza and Sage are the other Riverside County communities in the new district.

San Diego County comprises the bulk of the district, which goes south to the border with Mexico. The district includes Anza-Borrego and Julian. The western edge incorporates many San Diego suburban communities, such as Santee, Rancho San Diego and Spring Valley.

Idyllwild’s current Assemblyman Brian Nestande will not be running in this district.

Brian Jones, a Republican Assemblyman in his first term, is the incumbent that represents most of the new district already. He was a member of the Santee City Council for eight years and its vice mayor during that time.

He currently serves on the Assembly’s Legislative Ethics, Budget, Human Services (where he is the vice chair), Judiciary, Water, Parks and Wildlife committees and the Select Committee on Job Creation for the New Economy.

On the Budget committee, he serves on the Natural Resource subcommittee and is familiar with many issues, such as the Fire Prevention fee, affecting Idyllwild and other rural areas.

“It was pretty badly drafted. I hear about it from constituents in Ramona, Alpine and Anza-Borrego,” Jones said. “There are a lot of common interests. Idyllwild and these communities are all in the mountain range.”

Jones doubted that the Legislature could make any further changes in the fee law. He expects the next big news to be a lawsuit challenging the fee after it is finally assessed.

“I’ve been doing everything I can, but Gov. Brown promised to make it tough if Republicans didn’t get along with his tax proposal,” Jones said.

His other legislation and priorities included helping to restructure the state’s welfare program to make it more efficient and to reduce Sacramento’s involvement in local decisions.

“Sacramento thinks it can do everything better than school districts, city councils and fire districts,” Jones lamented. Then he pointed out that the state Legislature actually enacted 868 bills in 2011. That’s more than two per day.

When spring arrives and the primary has begun, Jones plans to travel north to Idyllwild and other Hill communites, he said.