The most controversial member of the Huntington Beach City Council made the most surprising announcement of the year Tuesday night. He quit.
Tito Ortiz, elected to the council in 2020 and chosen to be the mayor pro tem as the top vote-getter in the Nov. 6 election, told the council he was leaving his position.
“From Day One, when I was sworn in,” he said, “I was met with hostility and judgment. Being a public figure, nothing is new. But each and every week to be the sole focus of character assassination with news stories and leak personal information, all of which were in hopes to slander and defame my name.
“I thought I was up to this job. I had 40,000 constituents counting on me. As of recently the attacks on me have moved into involving my family and I now feel their safety is in danger. To put it simply, this job isn’t working for me. I’m sorry to let down many of my supporters and constituents and I pray they will understand.” He thanked several people and concluded, by saying, “I tried as hard as I could but when my children’s safety becomes a factor, I’m a father and I will protect my children. Once again, I did the best I could possibly do. I hope I didn’t let anyone down, and I hope you guys have a wonderful night.”
At that point, he stood up and walked out of the council chamber. There were no comments from other council members at that point.
However, the council will hold a special meeting on Wednesday (June 2) at 8 p.m. to consider appointment of a new mayor pro tem. By policy, a mayor pro tem becomes the next year’s mayor, unless a council majority makes a different choice. The council will later discuss the timeline and method of appointing a new council member to fill the vacated seat.
Ortiz, a former wrestler and professional martial arts participant, was often referred to as the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy.”
It wasn’t long before controversy began to swirl around him. He called the coronavirus a “plandemic,” advancing the conspiracy theory that the spread of COVID-19 was part of a plan, not a genuine public heath crisis. He also refused to wear a mask and publically denounced a popular Huntington Beach restaurant that refused to serve him when he was unwilling to wear a face covering as required by state and local orders.
The council considered stripping him of his “pro tem” title, but backed off after a three-hour public comment session in which a small majority of those speaking defended Ortiz.
Also Tuesday night, the council heard Interim Police Chief Julian Harvey give a report on the disorder that hit the downtown area of the city May 21-23. He spoke of how the event grew from a TikTok post calling for a three-day birthday celebration termed “Adrian’s Kickback.”
About 150 people were arrested and there was widespread vandalism and attacks on police, but no serious injuries or deaths.
Finally, Harvey said, “I hope this is not the harbinger of things to come, but I think it is.”
Additionally, the council voted to approve the municipal budget for 2021-2022. The budget is planned for $424,421,323, including general fund expenditures of $226,980,486.
One major new position included in the budget is deputy director of homeless and behavioral services for the police department at an annual expense of $227,980,486.
The next regular meeting of the city council is scheduled for Tuesday, June 15.
Categories: Huntington Beach