U-T reporter Bruce Bigelow reports today that the California Public Utilities Commission appears poised to draw a new boundary for the 760 area code. The parts of North County San Diego that have used 760 would change to 442 in the recommendation under review today.

Last year, when this option and other splits were being floated by the commission, I wrote about the contest between 760-coded chambers of commerce in North County and in the chunks of Imperial, Inyo, Riverside, Mono and San Bernardino counties served by the code. The nature of their rhetoric: to prove whose community would be more burdened by the change, which could involve everything from reprinting stationery to changing business directories south of the border.

And, in my favorite part of the story, I chatted with an Escondido hip-hop artist called Pain who had cobbled together a crew of his fellow North County artists in two compilation albums titled the 760 Connection.

From that story:

Pain didn’t know about the proposed change until a reporter asked him Thursday what it might mean for the 760 Connection artists, many of whom performed at San Marcos’ The Jumping Turtle venue Friday night. He sounded dejected as he mused aloud on the ramifications of the change.

“Oh, no,” he said. “If we were 442? It would change big time.”

But later, he admitted what mattered was the geographic tie, not necessarily the numerical one.

And Murray Forman, an expert I talked to about topophilia or ‘love of place’ in hip-hop said he thought the artists would find a new common identifier.

“I don’t think I would worry too much about these cats having a momentary existential crisis,” he said. “They’ll find something else to hang their identity on.”

After the story ran, I also talked to the publisher of an area code trivia website, named Linc Madison, who has quite an affinity for telephony. You can read that post here.

The Simpsons dealt with such a change in an episode called “A Tale of Two Springfields” where Springfield is split into two area codes and “New Springfield” (with the new 939 area code) is pitted against “Olde Springfield” (636). Homer, as mayor of the new side, builds a wall through the city, like Berlin, and eventually persuades the band The Who to perform there instead of on the old side. Members of The Who suggest the residents get speed dial to solve their problems and thus preserve town unity. And a power chord from Pete Townshend proves forceful enough to tear down the wall.

KELLY BENNETT

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