Councilman Bill Miranda was confronted at Tuesday’s Santa Clarita City Council meeting about his past remarks regarding the Latino Chamber of Commerce.
The Signal’s Publisher Chuck Champion used the council meeting’s public comment time to voice his opinion on Miranda’s dialogue with the Santa Clarita Gazette Publisher Doug Sutton on May 12 during a radio segment.
Champion addressed the council with regards to Miranda’s appointment, referencing speculation that state Sen. Scott Wilk had influence in the council’s appointment of Miranda.
“The people in the city deserve better government,” Champion said. “This is not because I have a personal vendetta against the person you sat.”
Councilwoman Marsha McLean addressed Champion, saying the way she votes is her own choosing.
“For people that know me, they know no one influences me,” McLean said. “I make my own decisions, period.”
In the conversation between Miranda and Sutton during the radio interview, Sutton addressed The Gazette’s ongoing search for documentation of money when the Latino Chamber of Commerce merged with the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“To this minute, no one can prove what the financials were,” Sutton said in the interview.
Champion pointed to this, affirming Sutton’s statement that the Latino Chamber’s funds were not accounted for.
“We’re now embroiled in a controversy about monies,” Champion said to the council. “Those monies are still not accounted for.”
During the interview, Miranda said Sutton ought to ask sponsors how much they donated to a gala and total the cost of the event in order to find where the money went. The records of the funds are unable to be found, Sutton said.
“Even if the $2,000 were thrown down the sewer, it doesn’t amount to anything,” Miranda said in the interview.
Miranda also alluded during the interview that he hoped Sutton’s efforts did not have racial undertones because he is Latino.
“I’m trying my absolute best not to view it as, it’s a Latino thing,” Miranda said. “All of a sudden the Latino gets into public office and the Latino Chamber is up under scrutiny under a microscope with the facts easily attainable.”
Sutton confronted Miranda about the statement, asking him if he was insinuating a “racist attitude.”
“I told you I’m trying not to see that, okay?” Miranda said.
Concerning the accusation that Sutton implied Miranda called him racist, Champion said it was “insulting.”
“That is absolutely ridiculous,” Champion said to Miranda.
Miranda did not respond to Champion during the meeting and said he did not want to comment when The Signal asked after the meeting.
In relation to the council’s agenda, the city of Santa Clarita is now the proud owner of over $9 million worth of streetlights.
City Council voted at their meeting Tuesday night to approve the purchase of 16,125 streetlights from Southern California Edison for $9,573,728.
“I have never read anything that I’ve been so excited about,” Councilman Bob Kellar said.
“What a great opportunity for this city and a significant cost savings for all of our citizens.”
Purchasing the streetlights gives the city more control and allows them to switch to LED lights, which last longer and emit less greenhouse gases than traditional lights, saving money.
LED lights last for 15 years while traditional lights last for six years. Also, the LED lights will reduce greenhouse gases by 60 percent.
Councilwoman Laurene Weste asked if the LED lights would affect visibility of the night sky and City Special District Manager Kevin Tonoian said it would not.
With an annual operational savings of $748,773, the city is projected to save $22.5 million over the first 30 years of owning the streetlights.
With the savings, the money will go back to the tax payers, City Manager Ken Striplin said.
Southern California Edison has allowed cities to purchase streetlight systems since 2012. Santa Clarita filed paperwork to pursue this purchase in July 2015 and had the system appraised.
The electrical company will retain all electrical wiring to support the lights and any damage done below the poles will still be Southern California Edison’s responsibility.
It will take between four and six months for the California Public Utilities Commission to approve the agreement. Southern California Edison will transfer the lights over to the city 60 days after the commission makes its approval.
Lancaster, Huntington Beach, Monterey Park and Rialto have all purchased their streetlight systems, Palmdale and Rancho Cucamonga are both awaiting final approval and Simi Valley has agreed to pursue the purchase. Nine other cities in Southern California are looking to acquire their streetlights, the city’s council agenda said.
Two community members used the public comment session to express concerns with low income housing for seniors.
One community member commented on the protected left turn lane being approved on the intersection of Orchard Canyon Road and Wiley Canyon Road. She said she was the one to suggest this in 2014 and thanked the council and city staff for pursuing the safety precaution.