In its Thursday, May 13, lead article, The Signal reported that Mayor Bill Miranda addressed public criticisms of the city’s Human Relations Roundtable, a group formed by then-Mayor Cameron Smyth last fall as a response to protests about issues involving race relations in Santa Clarita. The criticisms focused on a statement, addressed to the William S. Hart Union High School District board of trustees and printed in a previous issue of The Signal, which indicated that the city-formed roundtable was in support of changing the Hart High School mascot. According to critic Steve Petzold, his concern was that the statement was issued from the “City of Santa Clarita Human Relations Roundtable.” He apparently feels that prefacing the name of the committee with “City of Santa Clarita” gives the group an air of authority that it does not have.
It appears to me that a committee that has been initiated, interviewed, selected and approved by the city, a committee that meets at City Hall with a representative from the city as its chair, certainly should be able to identify itself as belonging to the City of Santa Clarita. As a matter of fact, the city, itself, describes the roundtable as such on its own website by referring to the committee as the City of Santa Clarita Human Relations Roundtable when defining its mission statement.
While Mayor Miranda, who is cochair of the roundtable, explained that the statement issued to the Hart board was not intended to promote anything but harmony and inclusion, he also said that the roundtable is “in the process of evolving” and there is “a little nebulousness as to what they can and can’t do.”
I must respectfully take issue with his position. The mission statement, published on the city website, states exactly what the Human Relations Roundtable is supposed to do:
“Encourage, assist, and empower our community to eliminate all forms of racism and discrimination, and to promote inclusion, understanding, and appreciation of human differences.”
By issuing its position statement about the Hart High mascot to the Hart board of trustees and informing the community of this statement, the Human Relations Roundtable was following its mission statement as created by the city of Santa Clarita. That Mr. Petzold and fellow critic Alan Ferdman question the authority of the roundtable to publish its statement puzzles me. Why Mayor Miranda would “take this criticism very seriously” when the roundtable is obviously doing the job it was commissioned to do perplexes me.
I say to the City of Santa Clarita Human Relations Roundtable, “Job well done.”