Is it too early to talk about the 2018 city council election?
Apparently not. Councilmember Bill Miranda has indicated he will run. Although Miranda didn’t respond to the Gazette, Mayor Cameron Smyth said he received an e-vite to Miranda’s kickoff event “sometime this month.”
Councilmember Marsha McLean also said she plans to run. Mayor Pro-Tem Laurene Weste, whose term also expires next year, did not respond to the Gazette’s phone calls.
It is likely that next year Weste will become mayor (she hasn’t served in that capacity since 2014) and McLean likely will become mayor pro-tem. Some might believe that having a title gives a candidate an advantage, but Smyth points out that is misleading.
“Recent history is mixed,” he said. “In 2014 (actually 2012), the incumbent mayor (Laurie Ender) lost. In 2016, the incumbent mayor (Bob Kellar) won. What I learned from my election (in 2016), with a bigger turnout, was the voters of Santa Clarita are very educated. Titles alone aren’t going to carry the day.”
Additionally, Dante Acosta was not allowed to use the title “Mayor Pro-Tem” on his ballot when he ran for Assembly in 2016 because he was not elected to that position.
But what about racial makeup? Former councilmember and mayor Carl Boyer told the Gazette recently that he thinks Miranda, who has not had a smooth ride since being appointed in January, is vulnerable if a Latino runs against him.
While Boyer didn’t name any names, Gloria Mercado-Fortine has run before, and Saugus school board member Paul De La Cerda put himself in the running for appointment to the council seat.
Both said it’s too early to talk about running, but it’s clear Mercado-Fortine has thought about it.
“Scott Wilk put Bill in,” she said about the state senator who wrote a letter of recommendation for Miranda. “He went after Bruce (Fortine, Mercado-Fortine’s husband and a former College of the Canyons trustee who has butted heads with Wilk in the past) and I before.
“He’s a really vicious person and puts out a lot of trash,” she continued. “It’d be good to do that (run) just to break that stronghold. But it’s early.”