“Surf City” makes a right turn

TUESDAY’S election will have the biggest local impact in Huntington Beach and Westminster

With the elections over … well, mostly over … it’s time to take a look at what that portends and what 2023 might bring to us in the West Orange County area.

The biggest – and most welcome – result to come out of the voting is the overwhelming approval of Measure Y, the one-cent sales tax in Westminster. That penny on the dollar will literally rescue the city from catastrophic cutbacks or, at worst, bankruptcy.

What’s less pleasing is that because of political game-playing by the council, the city will nevertheless lose millions of dollars in tax revenue because the accrual to the municipal treasury doesn’t start until April, a result of a lack of political courage at 8200 Westminster Blvd.

Another development to come out of Tuesday’s voting is the emergence of a new majority on the Huntington Beach City Council.

A foursome running as a slate – Pat Burns, Tony Strickland, Gracey Van Der Mark and Casey McKeon – swept to victory under the banner of “Save Huntington Beach.”

City Attorney Michael Gates – who has recently clashed with the council majority – won re-election easily and a ballot measure to bring that office under more control of the council was rejected by voters.

We’re not sure exactly what all that means, but it seems that we will see a much more conservative bent to the council, which had tended to skew more liberal as a result of the 2020 election.

Some of the folks backing this slate had been advocates for the controversial Tito Ortiz, a coronavirus skeptic who resigned from the council and then moved to Florida. 

It should all make for some interesting meetings on Tuesday nights.

Still up in the air as we go to “press” is the Orange County Supervisors 2nd District seat race in which Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento has a 48-vote lead over Garden Grove Councilmember Kim Bernice Nguyen. The Registrar of Voters reports that there are over 350,000 more ballots left (county-wide) to process, so that situation could cartwheel a few times before coming to a conclusion.

In Garden Grove, Mayor Steve Jones ran without opposition and incumbent George Brietigam (District 1) won easily. There will, however, be some new faces on the council with Cindy Tran prevailing in a field of five candidates in District 3. Leading in the District 4 race is Joe DoVinh, who has a lead of 194 votes over Duy Nguyen.

That’s how the outcome of the 2022 election looks, which – of course – represents the starting gun of the 2024 election.

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