Assemblyman visits Laguna

Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine) made three trips recently to Laguna Beach, a constituency he might soon lose to redistricting.

An independent committee's proposed map of new boundaries for voting districts released Friday shows Laguna as part of a coastal district, stretching from Huntington Beach to Dana Point. Laguna currently is in Wagner's 70th Assembly District, which also includes all or part of Foothill Ranch, Irvine, Aliso Viejo, Newport Beach, Tustin and Tustin Hills.

"The coastal district makes sense, and it is hard to see how to connect Laguna and Irvine, but I would hate to lose Laguna," Wagner said Saturday after a breakfast with residents at Mozambique. "I haven't decided yet what I am going to do."

"Coastal cities have a lot in common, and there is value in that," said Mayor Toni Iseman, a registered Democrat in a non-partisan office. "But more than redistricting, I think the new voting system will bring more Democrats and moderate Republicans to Washington, D.C., and Sacramento. It means candidates can no longer pander to their base."

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission has until Aug. 15 to make a decision on the districts.

Wagner also attended the Laguna Beach Woman's Club luncheon June 10 honoring Ann Quilter as the Woman of the Year and a reception for locals that evening at French 75.

"I think he takes his job very seriously, and he has been reaching out to Laguna," said Iseman, who attended all three of Wagner's speeches.

Wagner was elected to the majority Republican district in 2010.

Wagner first came to Laguna as a vacationer.

"I was 15 1/2, and my father let me drive on Laguna Canyon Road," Wagner said. "It was the longest drive I had made up to that point."

Coming to Laguna as a kid on family vacations is different than coming here as the city's representative in Sacramento, Wagner said.

"Every chance I get to talk to the folks in Laguna is a help," Wagner said. "I have been doing chamber events all over the district, but apart from the business community, I hadn't a clue about Laguna so it's great to meet people I need to get to know." He said.

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