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Acosta hopes to be mediator on City Council

Posted: April 21, 2014 4:34 p.m.
Updated: April 21, 2014 4:34 p.m.

Newly elected Santa Clarita City Council member Dante Acosta, right, is joined by wife Carolyn, left, and son D.J., 13, as he decorates his office at Santa Clarita City Hall on Friday. Signal photo by Dan Watson

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Newly elected Santa Clarita City Councilman Dante Acosta’s journey to the Santa Clarita Valley is a familiar one.
Growing up in the San Fernando Valley — Granada Hills, to be exact — Acosta turned his eyes to the Santa Clarita Valley around the time he and his wife, Carolyn, were married.

The two relocated from the Valley to this valley almost 28 years ago and started a family.

“We looked at what was happening here and we looked at how nice and new everything was, and we made a great choice by moving into Santa Clarita when we got married,” he said during an interview last week.

The family now lives in Canyon Country, and Acosta has worked as a financial adviser for more than 20 years.

But beginning Tuesday, the longtime resident will begin a new chapter in his life: representing the area where he has lived for decades.

His family was a major reason he set out on that path, he said, citing the standard of service set by son Army Spc. Rudy A. Acosta, who was killed by a rogue gunman in Afghanistan in 2011.

“I found that I really took that example and wanted to serve my community in a better and bigger way and saw that there were things that I could bring to the table to serve Santa Clarita,” he said.

Family life
Acosta’s father, Rodolfo, was a character actor in both movies and television known for his work in Westerns.
Acosta recalled how his father used to get up early for work, often in the Santa Clarita Valley, and would spend long hours filming.

Rodolfo’s work was recognized last year when he was given a plaque on the Walk of Western Stars in Newhall.
Acosta’s mother, Clidine, worked or ran a small business while also raising the family following her husband’s death in 1974,

“She was an incredible example of hard work and determination, and she would not let her family down,” Acosta said. “She worked three jobs to take care of five children by herself.”

Acosta said seeing his mother’s work ethic helped inspire his own.

“She had a good expression, ‘God won’t steer a parked car,’” he said. “You need to be doing something, you need to be moving and you need to be moving in a direction so that you can get something done and accomplish your goals and dreams.

“And that’s what I’ve always tried to do, and I think the rest of my siblings learned a very similar lesson,” he said.

Acosta said he thinks he can help find common ground on a City Council, whose recent meetings have been marked by discord.

“I think I can be a real cohesive addition to the City Council because I get along with people,” he said.

If there’s one thing Acosta knows, it’s how to be a good mediator and work with others, he said. He got all the experience he’ll ever need growing up as the middle child.

“You learn to adapt and overcome and be able to get along with people older and younger on both sides of your family,” he said. “So that’s a skill I had to learn early on.”

Acosta said the city of Santa Clarita has changed much since he first moved here.

“Santa Clarita is now in the big leagues,” he said, noting that the city has become the third-largest in Los Angeles County. “We’re competing for jobs and residents and other infrastructure projects with other major, well-known cities.”

Now that he’s elected, Acosta said, a primary goal is promoting job growth and economic development in Santa Clarita.

“I’ve always said that I don’t want to visit my children and grandchildren in Texas because they can’t find a job here,” he said.

He also said he’ll pull on his experience as a financial adviser to help make sure the city is operating as efficiently as it can be.

Acosta will be officially seated during a special City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

With a nod to the accomplishments of the past, Acosta said he thinks the future of Santa Clarita is bright.

“I am just so honored and blessed to be part of that,” he said, “that it’s hard to think about anything else but, ‘What can we do to make this even better?’

“I’m really excited about that,” he said.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




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