Ah, leave it to The Signal’s editorial board to completely gloss over the irony of their column on district voting for the city of Santa Clarita. The Signal says if the districts were cut a certain way, three of the five current members of the council would live in a single district, and by gosh that means the Latino guy would lose to the very hunky Cameron Smyth. Well, I’m not sure why The Signal thinks a guy with a Hispanic last name would lose in some mythical three-way matchup. I think that statement says more about the mindset of The Signal editorial staff than anything, but The Signal completely misses the point, which is that three of the five, a full 60% of the council, are neighbors, living in one district.
Democracy is imperfect and messy, but it sure beats the alternative (I’m talking about you, Russia). We divvy up areas into districts, be it congressional, state Assembly, etc., because we have found that people are best represented by elected officials who live among them. People complain, people squawk, people petition. When those people live next door, you can be darn sure they will get a better hearing than folks who live on the other side of town. Under The Signal’s district map, at least 40% of the city would not have this kind of local representation. Santa Clarita is the third largest city in Los Angeles County, with a quarter of a million residents. A lot of those folks are not getting the services they need because of this lack of local representation.
I have no idea if a Latino, or a person of color, will win in a district-type voting scenario. But I am certain we will get some new members, and ones who aren’t handpicked by their predecessors. That is a good thing. It may be messy, and I am sure many folks here in this city won’t like it, but the council needs some shaking up and it’s pretty obvious that, left to their own devices, that wasn’t going to happen.
Editor’s note: Our supposition that Smyth would be the favorite in a hypothetical election against McLean and Miranda was based on nothing other than history and math: When Smyth was re-elected in 2020, he drew nearly twice as many votes as the second-place finisher in a race for two seats. McLean and Miranda were both elected in 2018, finishing second and third in a race for three seats. While the three of them have not gone head-to-head-to-head in an election, if you’re looking at it as you would a horse race, the smart money would be on Smyth.