Recognition, resolutions and even a Sheriff’s Department challenge coin were among the gifts given to outgoing Santa Clarita Mayor Jason Gibbs as he passed the gavel Tuesday to the incoming one, Cameron Smyth.
But the best, he said, came from College of the Canyons’ culinary program, which made Gibbs’ favorite dish: a plate of pork chops prepared by students as a gesture of their appreciation.
Gibbs thanked residents for their support over the last year Tuesday, acknowledging he was incredibly proud to be able to do the job and also that it was one that required a lot.
Smyth also noted that receiving the gavel, which returned him back to the mayor’s seat for a fifth time in the city he grew up in, was a special honor but also a bittersweet one.
As the result of an agreement the city of Santa Clarita made over the summer to settle a California Voting Rights Act lawsuit, the City Council’s next election will be district based, and Smyth lives in an area that won’t be on the ballot, although his term ends next December.
The motion to name Smyth was almost instantaneous as soon as Gibbs opened up the dais for a nomination, with Councilwoman Marsha McLean and Bill Miranda moving almost simultaneously to second.
After accepting the unanimous vote and then moving to open the floor to nominations for his former position, mayor pro tem, there was the briefest moment of tension among the council members.
As soon as Smyth asked for names, Councilwoman Laurene Weste almost instantly said Miranda, which Miranda quickly seconded.
Following the vote, which McLean abstained from, she asked rhetorically, “Laurene, how did I know you were going to do that?” before Smyth called the next matter.
Smyth also made a joke about how he made a speech before the last time he became mayor, which was in December 2019, and alluding to the global pandemic, things did not exactly go as planned the following year, he said.
But the city will continue to set the model no matter what comes its way in 2024, he said.
Smyth also previously was mayor in 2003, 2005 and 2017.