Last week the Gazette published an interview reporter Lee Barnathan did with City Councilman Bill Miranda.
Barnathan: “On May 12, on KHTS, you accused publisher Doug Sutton and me of racism.”
Miranda: “I did not. Oh, my goodness. I did not, and how dare you say that. How dare you say that. When you listen to the video, you see the video, not once did I use the word ‘racism’ against Doug, much less you. I would never do that. I understand what the word ‘racism’ means, and I would never do that.”
After reading that I went back and listened to the transcript of the show and decided to print it here for you, the reader, and Miranda’s constituents to decide if he played the race card or not.
Miranda: “All of a sudden, the Latino gets into public office and the Latino Chamber is under scrutiny with a microscope, and with the facts easily attainable, and being told, ‘where did the money go?’” … “What are we, a bunch of hoodlums? Are we perceived as a bunch of hoodlums? Where did the money go? How do you explain where did the money go?”
Me: “Bill, are you insinuating some sort of a racist attitude on our part?”
Miranda: “No, I’m not. I’m trying hard not to see that, but you had all kinds of opportunities to write positive stories about me and the Latino Chamber.”
There you go — we report, you decide.
Ranter’s Note: If you didn’t follow the saga of the Gazette and Bill Miranda you should know that when he stated “with the facts easily attainable” that is completely false. We tried for weeks to garner the information he claims is easily attainable and it was like pulling an embedded tooth. The fact is the matter has still not been resolved satisfactorily.
I Aim to Please:
Barnathan: The Gazette has called for your resignation. Do you have a response?
Miranda: “No (laughs). You know, not necessarily to that, but just to things in general. There are things that I take very seriously and there are things that make me smile, and that was one of the things that made me smile. It was fun. I liked it. I actually enjoyed reading it.”
I want Bill to be able to smile, have fun and enjoy the read again, so here is what I wrote in September of this year.
I Don’t Like This:
I take no great pleasure with what I’m writing this week; in fact, I rather hate it. I’ve been criticized at times by friends and readers for being too apologetic for some of the stuff I write. Critics be dammed, because I get uncomfortable writing tough stuff about people I know and have had a good relationship with in the past. As Popeye used to say, “I am what I am and that’s all I am.”
I’m not writing this out of any sort of vengeance on my part, even though the gentleman in question accused me of being a rather despicable human being, but I have put that issue behind me. I’m simply addressing this as a matter of principle and integrity, for the City of Santa Clarita, the City Council and the voters in this community.
I’m calling on Bill Miranda to resign from his position on the City Council. If he had been elected to office this would not be occurring. But, because the matter of filling Dante Acosta’s seat was taken out of the hands of Santa Clarita voters, it’s a different ball game. The bottom line for me is that Bill was selected by three members of the council (Bob Kellar voted no) with what amounted to a zero vetting process. The lack of any sort of background check has brought us to this uncomfortable point in time and much of the blame lies with the three members of the council who voted him in.
In some ways I feel sorry for Miranda; it seems he was appointed and shoe-horned into a position he never should have been considered for, especially knowing what we know now. It’s been talked about by many that the process on the evening Bill was appointed was awkward and seemed contrived. While I won’t get into what may have motivated the councilpersons to select him, something about the process smelled fishy from the very beginning.
From what I recall, the only comments from the supporting councilpersons addressing his qualifications for the seat were vague in nature. Although Bill was lauded for orchestrating the Latino Chamber merger with the Santa Clarita Chamber, we, unfortunately, learned later the merger was shrouded with financial ambiguities and conflicting facts based on statements from other involved parties.
The Issues At Hand:
If the unaccounted for monies from the merger was the only issue involved, would I be calling for Miranda’s resignation? Probably not, but if we look at the entire spectrum of his dealings leading up to this point, it should only lead to one conclusion.
*At the time of the merger in 2015, SCV Chamber CEO Terri Crain was led to believe by Bill they were going to get a significant membership and financial boost when the Latino Chamber of Commerce merged with them. But Crain said only about $2,000 came into the Chamber coffers, and the 100 new members she was told would transfer were really more like 30.
*On Feb. 2 – The Gazette publishes an article showing the tax return saying Miranda worked an average of zero hours a week for the Latino Chamber in 2012, yet was paid $17,000. Also, the status of his LLC, Our Valley Group, had been suspended by the Franchise Tax Board for failing to meet tax requirements. Miranda said he was a consultant; the IRS form listed him as CEO.
*April 20 – The Gazette publishes an article pointing out discrepancies involving monies from the 2014 Latino Chamber gala and funds that were transferred to the SCV Chamber when the merger occurred. As Latino Chamber CEO Miranda should have been responsible for accurate accounting of the funds, but passed responsibility to others, including SCV Chamber CEO Terri Crain, who had since resigned from her position.
*April 28 – On a KHTS radio show, Miranda criticizes the Gazette for the article, making unsubstantiated claims that this newspaper was forced into publishing the story by outside influences. During the show he pounds his open right hand on some papers and says he has all the proof necessary to account for the funds.
*May 1-3 – The Gazette calls Miranda, asking to name the time and place he will turn over the information he claimed to have, but the reporter is rebuffed with a text saying the treasurer of the Latino Chamber had the documents.
*May 11 – The Gazette publishes an article stating the Latino Chamber treasurer claimed not to have the information Miranda said he had.
*May 12 – On a KHTS radio show (where I was a guest) Miranda accuses the Gazette of racism for publishing stories regarding the lack of accounting for the Chamber monies and stated, “Even if $2,000 was thrown down the sewer, what difference does it make?”
*On the same show he told Carl Goldman and me that he had all the backing documents needed to clear the whole thing up and would appear on the same show in two weeks with those documents. It never happened.
*A week or so after the show, Miranda texted Gazette reporter Lee Barnathan stating he wanted to meet with him. The text was unsolicited and did not indicate why he wanted to meet.
*May 23 – In an exchange with Gazette reporter Lee Barnathan, after a City Council meeting where The Signal publisher lambasted Miranda, Bill denies sending Barnathan a text wanting to meet.
*July 26 – The state attorney general’s office sends a notice of delinquency to Santa Clarita Education, Inc., in which Miranda is CEO, and threatens fines for failing to file tax returns for 2013-15 and failing to file renewal fees with the Registry of Charitable Trusts. The IRS also revoked the nonprofit status.
*August 3 – The Gazette reports that Miranda is the first known sitting council member to be sued while in office when Synchrony Bank files suit against Miranda for breach of contract and failing to pay back a credit card debt. The bank seeks $5,002.98.
*Last week, the Gazette publishes an article regarding a loan the Latino Chamber made to its own educational foundation, funds that were not accounted for by either entity. The story also documented various discrepancies between the Latino Chamber’s final “Financial Income and Expense” report and the organization’s final tax return. At press time, those discrepancies had not been adequately addressed, despite inquires by the Gazette.
Should this stuff just be swept under the rug? Should we just forget about any of this and let the voters decide in November of 2018? Should a City Council member or two have a heart-to-heart with Bill and let him know what is in the best interest of the city, the integrity of the council, and for Bill himself?
Would the council still have appointed him if they knew then what they know now? Would voters have voted him in if they knew about his dealings? If the answers to either of these questions is no, then Bill must show the integrity I have known him to have in the past and resign his seat. I know how painful this will be for him, but it will show him to be a man of higher regard than if he continues to serve under this cloud.
I’ve known Bill Miranda for several years, and he is a good and decent man, but there comes a time when we all need to take a hard look in the mirror and make very difficult decisions.
As it states on the top of this page, “I Rant, You Decide.” In this case, Bill Miranda needs to decide.
I’m sure you have looked at a situation with a sports team, a company, a friend, a family member and thought to yourself there is just no way they can pull this off. And, unfortunately, most of the time they don’t.
As we peer into the swamp and up the hill to inside the Capitol building, it reeks of the doom and gloom that there is no way they can get done what needs to get done in December. Our eyes glaze over as we see these people needing to raise the debt ceiling and maddingly trying to give a painful birth to tax reform, all the while wrestling in the mucky mud over sexual misbehavior within the ranks. Not to mention the unstable leader of North Korea playing with his rockets again. Fixing all of these messes in a needed timely fashion looks as hopeless as the Dodgers being down in the ninth inning of game seven of the World Series.
Next Friday (12/8) the government will come to a screeching shutdown if the debt ceiling isn’t raised by these compromise-loving (not) congressional beings. In the past I ranted hard about just letting the shutdown happen, forcing Congress to realize the need for massive spending cuts, but now if there is a shutdown it will screw up the already screwed-up tax reform bill. What a mess!
It Still Drives Me…
One good sign; the tax bill got out of committee in the Senate, so now the fun begins as it hits the fan on the floor of the Senate.
But, it still drives me bat crap crazy when I keep hearing the whining from the Dems (Dimms, as Lou Dobbs calls them) on how the tax cuts will increase the deficit. They didn’t give two rips about the debt for the eight years their guy was in the White House and now they’re suddenly all hot and bothered by it?
Speaking of the eight years Obama was in charge, the debt convulsed upwards by $10 trillion! Now his guy and gal friends in Congress are feigning horror at it possibly increasing by $1 trillion over 10 YEARS! Really? Of course, not one of them (Republicans also, for that matter) will even utter the words “too much spending” when panicking about the increased debt.
Throw Caution to the Wind:
Have you ever had to put money on a credit card that already had a hefty balance on it, but for the good of your family cause, you thought, is another small chunk of change added to the balance really going to matter?
With that thought in mind, I say Congress should throw caution to the wind and give this tax reform stuff a chance. Maybe, just maybe, the increased economic growth that could result will take care of the increased debt with increased tax revenue.
Besides that, if worse comes to worse, the debt does increase with us keeping more of our own money. Isn’t it better for you and I to increase our spending on personal consumer goods than the government spending more on idiotic programs?
Quips, Quotes & Headlines:
It’s somewhat amazing to me that the day after the North Korean missile launch, where we face the worst threat to our citizen’s security since the Cuban missile crisis, the news pages were jammed with Matt Lauer’s firing. (Me)
“It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they’ve taken. It’s a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that can threaten everywhere in the world.” James Mattis, defense secretary
“If we have to go to war to stop this, we will, we’re headed towards a war if things don’t change.” (Senator Lindsey Graham)
“Such a missile (Tuesday’s) would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C. and, in fact, any part of the Continental United States.” (David Wright, Union of Concerned Scientists)
North Korean Defector Has ‘Enormous’ Parasites (Headline)
North Korean Women Suffer Discrimination, Rape, Malnutrition (Headline)
North Korean Labor Camps Are Hell on Earth (Headline)
North Korea Defectors May be Occupants of Skeleton-Filled Ghost Ship (Headline)
The Horrible North Korean Secrets Make Us Worried About Kim Jong Un’s Mental Health (Headline)
Missile testing aside, I really wonder if we should do something drastic over there, even if it results in untold deaths. In the name of humanity, do we need to look at the deaths that would occur if we went in there to get this guy out, or at least debilitate his power, as sacrificial? Sacrificing lives to end the unspeakable, unimaginable horror these human beings are suffering through, especially the children? Of course, the deaths would be horrible, but how else does this madness end? (Me)
Melania Trump Cuts Bloated First Lady Payroll From Michelle Obama Days (Headline)
You go, girl! Mrs. Trump’s staff consists of four people for a total of $486,700 in salaries, while Mrs. Obama’s payroll had 16 staffers for a total of $1,240,000. I just wish the current First Lady could lend her husband some cost-cutting knowledge for the federal budget. (Me)
I’m a little confused; when the Roy Moore thing broke the Dems went absolutely nuts over the moral outrage of it all, but now that Al Franken and John Conyers have been caught with their pants down, there is a lot of hemming and hawing going on from the same people. (Me)
“I am talking to you, Nancy Pelosi. The Democratic House Minority leader initially refused to comment on whether Democratic Congressman John Conyers should step aside for secretly settling a sexual harassment lawsuit, while she simultaneously denounced Republican Roy Moore for allegations of sexual misconduct.” (Carol Costello, host of “Across America” on HLN)
“If Roy Moore wins it will be the most demoralizing blow for the media since Donald Trump’s election.” (Dinesh D’Souza, Author)
“Sexual Harassment is the new Russia.” (Kennedy, Fox Business Network)
“My message to Washington is very simple. Face reality. Be leaders. Demonstrate accountability. Engage in principle compromise. And understand your job is to find solutions.” (Kenneth Chenault)
Does the preceding quote fit under the “I Have A Dream” category? (Me)