At Tuesday’s marathon meeting of the Huntington Beach City Council, a supporter of the conservative majority speaking during public comments offered a backhanded compliment to the previous liberal majority.
He credited them with getting things done, even though he clearly didn’t think they were very good ideas. At that meeting, which stretched into Wednesday morning, the new majority got things done.
Will what they have done perhaps see them undone?
But where the Big Four may have stumbled – strategically – is in ash-canning the Human Relations Committee and the Mobile Home Advisory Board. At a time when Huntington Beach is being branded – often unfairly, I think – as the home of skinheads and other bigots, it’s a very bad signal to close down an institution created to nurture tolerance and combat hate crimes.
That said, the even-bigger “whoops” was getting rid of the mobile home panel. Its defenders showed up in force at the meeting in their red T-shirts and noted that rising rents were threatening to render many seniors homeless.
Now, no one could ever expect these guys to pursue mobile home rent control or anything similar, but there’s little practical advantage in getting rid of the board and considerable political hazard in doing so.
The Big Four don’t have to worry about their current standing; they were all elected for four-year terms in 2020. But the backlash from angry seniors and folks nervous about Surf City’s image could well sink the charter amendments they proposed.
Also problematical is the idea of taking responsibility for conducting city elections from the county. Aside from the costs and logistical complications of that, the amendment also calls for voter ID requirements and the monitoring of ballot drop boxes.
Those latter ideas may be dear to the heart of folks who are convinced that elections are routinely stolen though fraud, but courts – especially in liberal California – will likely view them with considerable skepticism.
Yes, they got some things done. They may end up wishing they had done a bit less.