New councilman to begin transition into City Council

City of Santa Clarita City Hall

Now that he’s getting a new job, Bill Miranda needs to get busy leaving an old one, and perhaps cutting business ties to clients in still another of his gigs.

Miranda — appointed Tuesday night to the Santa Clarita City Council to fill the vacancy left by Dante Acosta’s December resignation – currently sits on the Board of Directors of the SCV Chamber of Commerce, but will have to divest himself of that title, per the rules of the Chamber.

Per the rules of the City Council, Miranda will also have to shed any clients of Bill Miranda Consulting who do business with the City of Santa Clarita.

Such matters were on Miranda’s upcoming agenda on Wednesday, just hours after he emerged from a field of 50 residents who applied for a Council seat that became vacant when Acosta ascended to the state Assembly.

Newly-appointed city councilman Bill Miranda.

Of the 50 area residents who filed written applications, 40 showed up at City Hall on Tuesday night to give three-minutes pitches for the post. Then, 18 were called back for further questions from Mayor Cameron Smyth, Mayor Pro Tem Laurene West and Council members Marsha McLean and Bob Kellar.

In the end, Miranda’s appointment passed by a 3-1 margin, with Kellar voting “no.” Weste had put forth the motion to appoint Miranda, and it was seconded by McLean.

Miranda is expected to be sworn in on Tuesday night, before the Council’s next regular meeting. He would then take part in that meeting.

“I’m very humbled — it’s a huge responsibility, a huge honor,’’ Miranda told The Signal on Wednesday. “So, my first thought is humility.

“Secondly, as a new council member, my thoughts are to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can. Being a council member has some other requirements, some other restrictions, procedural things. I look forward to meeting with the city attorney … to find out what’s cool and what’s not.’’

What’s not cool is for a councilman to be in business with anyone doing business with the city, so Miranda said he will be going through the client list of Bill Miranda Consulting.

“I have a few consulting clients, and I want to make sure there are no conflicts, find out if they are doing business with the city,’’ Miranda said. “That’s one of the things I have to check with the city.’’

Miranda is also managing partner of Valley Group, LLC, which publishes Our Valley Santa Clarita magazine. Miranda said the magazine takes no advertising from the city, nor does it receive any city grant money. City spokeswoman Carrie Lujan said Wednesday, “Our Valley Santa Clarita has not applied for or received grant funds from the city at least for the past two years, I didn’t go back further than that.”

According to several Council members, Miranda’s place on the SCV Chamber of Commerce was one of the deciding factors in his soon-to-be seat on the City Council.

“It impressed me (that) he took on difficult issues with merging the SCV Chamber and the Latino Chamber, bringing them together,’’ said McLean.

She was referring to the 2015 merger of the two groups, in which the SCV Latino Chamber of Commerce was absorbed by the larger SCV Chamber, giving the former Latino Chamber three seats on the 25-member board. The group that’s now part of SCV Chamber is called the SCV Latino Business Alliance.

“He had to work through some tough issues,’’ Weste said. “It’s tough to break that down and merge it into one.’’

Miranda – who touted his ability to be a conciliator – recalled that “it was a tough job.’’

“The challenges were that many of the members of the Latino Chamber were not wanting to merge, they wanted to stay independent,’’ he said. “And some members of the Santa Clarita Chamber were not overly thrilled with having us merge with them. I won’t say which ones.

“You chip away, chip away, chip away, and you get consensus. You get that middle group to have a discussion. It was not easy, it was not easy at all. It took a lot of coaxing.’’

The reason he pushed for the merger, he said, was that the Latino Chamber was “at the stage where, to sustain ourselves, we would have needed infrastructure. … We got to the point where we needed office space, an administrator, and we were not in position to do that. When the merger opportunity came up, I said, this makes sense.’’

Council members also cited Miranda’s community activities as an asset. Among them: volunteer work with American Diabetes Association (Miranda’s mother is a double amputee as a result of the disease); his work with the Senior Center, Single Mothers Outreach and Family Promise, a group that helps the homeless.

“What I was looking for was somebody that had a lot of time, had demonstrated over a very long period of time that they could problem-solve, bring resolution to issues, has a history with non-profits,’’ said Weste.

Smyth, meanwhile, said, “(Miranda’s) combination of business experience, his knowledge of the community, make him very well qualified and to get up to speed. Certainly it will take some time, but I think he is starting from a good point.’’

Still, Miranda’s appointment was not unanimous, with Kellar casting the lone dissenting vote. Kellar favored the appointment of Brent A. Braun, a lawyer and retired FBI agent who specialized in chasing white-collar criminals.

“My thoughts (on Miranda) are very positive,’’ Kellar said. “He’s a good man, he’ll do a good job.
I told Bill Miranda, who’ve I’ve known casually, ‘You’re a fine man, but I’m going to vote no.’

“I want the best person, and I spoke of who that person is, and I stuck to my guns. … From my perspective, (Braun) was the man who should have been put in, no offense to Mr. Miranda.’’

Miranda did not take part in a Signal-sponsored issues forum last week at College of the Canyons, nor did he reply to written questions The Signal sent to all the applicants and then published. He also did not sit down for an interview with local KHTS radio, as several other applicants did.

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