Huntington Beach

Ortiz faces losing pro tem post

HUNTINGTON BEACH CIVIC CENTER (Orange County Tribune photo).

Three members of the Huntington Beach City Council are proposing to strip Councilmember Tito Ortiz of his post of mayor pro tem.

On the agenda for the council meeting on Monday, Feb. 1, an agenda item submitted by Mayor Kim Carr and Councilmembers Mike Posey and Dan Kalmick calls for a vote of no confidence against Ortiz, along with his removal from the pro tem post and the selection of a replacement.

TITO ORTIZ, mayor pro tem of the Huntington Beach City Council.

Ortiz, a former wrestler and mixed martial arts fighter, was elected to the council in November 2020. As is called for in the council policy on choosing its officers, Ortiz was chosen to pro tem – a sort of vice mayor – because he polled the most votes in the election.

It’s a mostly ceremonial position, but it would put him in position to preside over city council meetings when the mayor is absent, as well as put him in line to become the city’s top elected official in 2022.

Ortiz, 45, became controversial as soon as he was sworn in on Dec. 6. He referred to the coronavirus as a “plandemic,” a term used by conspiracy theorists who claim that COVID-19 was engineered in a laboratory as a biological weapon. That night, he spoke of his wearing a bulletproof vest to confront a Black Lives Matter rally in the downtown area earlier in the year, saying he was “willing to take a bullet for the city.”

He has refused to wear a mask during city council meetings and – most recently – criticized a Huntington Beach restaurant for refusing to serve him because he was not wearing a mask.

In the agenda item, it’s alleged that “Mr. Ortiz has failed to perform at a level expected for this position and has demonstrated little commitment to serving in the role with honor and dignity.”

Ortiz did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The meeting will be held virtually with a closed session at 5 p.m. and the regular open session at 6 p.m.

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