Huntington Beach

Controversial items pass, 4-3

HUNTINGTON CIVIC CENTER with voting drop box in foreground (OC Tribune photo).

By Daniella Moreau/Orange County Tribune

At a lengthy meeting that stretched nearly nine hours from Tuesday night to 2:50 a.m. Wednesday, the Huntington Beach City Council approved several controversial agenda items, including possible changes in access to certain library materials for minors, censuring Councilmember Natalie Moser and declaring that Surf City is a “No-mask, no vaccine mandate” city.

The votes were mostly 4-3, with Mayor Tony Strickland, Mayor Pro Tem Gracey Van Der Mark and Councilmembers Pat Burns and Casey McKeon in favor.

Opposed were Councilmembers Dan Kalmick, Rhonda  Bolton and Moser.

By that same margin, the council voted to hold public meetings each Thursday for four weeks to gather public input for the Charter Review Committee. beginning Sept. 14.

The council majority wants amendments to the city charter that would require voter ID for elections, more in-person voting locations and monitoring of drop boxes, changing the qualifications for the office of city clerk, defining the flags that can be displayed on city property and requiring voter approval for any city transaction that “that forgives, waives or foregoes the collection of property (tax) of $100,000 or more.”

Those proposed amendments are intended to go before voters in the March 4, 2024 statewide primary election.

Public comments, at which over 100 people spoke, lasted four hours. When Van Der Mark introduced the potential “no mask” measure, some audience members were removed from the council chamber due to outbursts.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the council is set for Tuesday, Sept.19.

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