By Jim Tortolano/Orange County Tribune
At another marathon meeting, a divided Huntington Beach City Council on Tuesday night approved some controversial agenda items which included 4-3 votes to dissolve the city’s Human Relations Committee and the Mobile Home Advisory Board.
In each of those cases, the majority of Mayor Tony Strickland, Mayor Pro Tem Gracey Van Der Mark and Councilmembers Pat Burns and Casey McKeon prevailed over opposition from Councilmembers Natalie Moser, Dan Kalmick and Rhonda Bolton.
The most extended discussion came over the Human Relations Committee. “This committee is tailored for our community,” said Moser, seeking to rebut the argument that the panel duplicates the work of the Orange County Human Relations Council.
She raised concerns about the rise of hate crimes in the city in the past year, saying, “It’s important that a city can aspire to be better than it is.”
McKeon replied that the Huntington Beach committee was “duplicative” and “contributes to the false narrative” that the city had high incidents of hate crimes compared to other cities when it’s taken into account that the city has many hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.
Also, the council voted to continue its participation in Operation Stonegarden, a federally-funded program for local law enforcement agencies to work with the national government to combat criminal activity – including smuggling and human trafficking – in coastal areas and communities near international borders.
Before the main portion of the agenda began, public comments lasted for over three hours, with residents making comments on proposed charter amendments, “streamlining” citizen boards – especially the Mobile Home Advisory Board and Human Relations Committee – and an amendment to the city’s “Declaration of Policy on Human Dignity.”
The speakers included former members of the city council and mayors.
The next meeting of the council is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 5.
Categories: Huntington Beach