Huntington Beach

Semeta sworn in as city’s 82nd mayor

LYN SEMETA is sworn in as Huntington Beach’s 82nd mayor at Monday night’s meeting of the city council. (OC Tribune photo).

By Jim Tortolano

Calling for civility in an age of divisiveness, Lyn Semeta took the oath Monday night as the 82nd mayor of Huntington Beach.

Sworn in as mayor pro tempore was Jill Hardy.

Before a capacity crowd in the council chambers outgoing mayor Erik Peterson handed over the gavel to Semeta, who yielded her former position as pro tem to Hardy, a former mayor.

“I think I like sitting here,” said Semeta to laughter as she settled into the mayor’s chair on the dais. “We have many changes coming to Huntington Beach this year,” she said, praising new City Manager Oliver Chi for his “innovation” and city’s public safety departments.

But there are challenges along with opportunities, citing homelessness and pension issues, she said. She also addressed the temper of the times.

“Our country is in a divisive place,” she said. “People are angry. Anger permeates our meetings sometimes. I don’t discount it. I always encourage people to come to our meetings. I always have advocated for increased transparency.

“Speaking at a council meeting is difficult and can be intimidating, so I applaud those who do it anyway. You know local government is where people can make the biggest difference influencing our daily lives,” she said. “And yet it’s possible to disagree  – even if we have radically differing opinions – while maintaining respect for one another. By maintaining civility we can arrive at better solutions to our most pressing problems.
“Huntington Beach is a great place to call home,” she added. “We all share the goal of maintaining our quality of life. So though our opinions might differ, those opinions are unified by that common value.”

Peterson made his farewells both in a pre-recorded video and in live remarks. He lauded the city’s community spirit. He also praised the role of municipal government. “It’s where your voice is heard at the local level,” he said.

Also on Monday night, the council approved on a 7-0 vote a resolution to extend an invitation to the City of Biarritz, France to establish a “Sister City” relationship. Biarritz is a resort town of 25,000 people and the “surfing capital of Europe.”


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