City council honors founding father

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on Feb. 26. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Santa Clarita City Council approved Tuesday evening the naming of a future street to honor one of the city’s founding fathers, Louis Brathwaite. 

The street is set to be located in the Sand Canyon Plaza, a still-developing mixed-use project whose owner, Greystar, expressed support for naming a future street within the development after Brathwaite — the late planning commissioner who died on Nov. 13, 2001 — in honor of his contributions to the Santa Clarita community. 

A Santa Clarita Valley resident since 1969, Brathwaite was described in the meeting agenda as “instrumental in the formation of the city of Santa Clarita” and was credited with enlisting the support for the plan from L.A. County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn.  

Brathwaite was appointed to the city Planning Commission in 1988, on which he served until 1998. Brathwaite also served as a board member of the William S. Hart Union High School District, the SCV Boys and Girls Club and the SCV Committee on Aging.  

“I would like to thank the city for acknowledging my father, Louis E. Brathwaite, as a community leader, pioneer and the very first planning commissioner for the city,” said Neshia Brathwaite, the former planning commissioner’s daughter, during the meeting. “Thank you so much for choosing a street to inspire and educate residents, as well as a legacy that my son can contribute to, in word and deed, set by his grandfather.”    

“My dad was very humble, he was very hardworking and he was a servant to the community,” she said. “He would be overwhelmed with this show of support.”     

Before the agenda item was taken up and passed unanimously, a handful of residents came to the podium to challenge the City Council to address issues of racism and white supremacy that they’ve seen in the valley.   

The younger Brathwaite, before leaving the podium, acknowledged the previous dialogue about race and gender. She described her father as a leader in the community — who often stood alone as not only the sole Black man among city leaders, but also the only person of color in decision-making rooms during the early days of the city — who dreamed “for oneness, the oneness of humanity, everybody to be educated, and girls to be recognized.” 

Tony Maldonado, president of the SCV Congress of Republicans, challenged some of the those who spoke before Neshia, asserting that they had implied her father was being singled out for recognition “simply for being a Black man.” Instead, Maldonado argued, Brathwaite’s honor should be purely seen as a recognition “for the greatness of a man and his achievements.” 

“I just wanted to thank Tony Maldonado for reminding us that we’re not just celebrating a Black man, one white man or whatever color man,” said Councilman Bill Miranda. “We’re celebrating a great man. And that’s above everything and anything else.” 

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