Surf City Side Shows Continue
Once again, the city where I live is in the news. Huntington Beach residents elected Tito Ortiz (pictured at the left) to the city council.
In case you don't know, Ortiz is the self-proclaimed “HB Bad Boy,” a UFC champion and UFC Hall of Famer and the CEO of a company called "Punishment Athletics."
He ran with the Trump inspired slogan “Make Huntington Beach Safe again.”
Safe from what exactly was never clear to me although Ortiz apparently feels threatened. He was photographed in June of this year helping the Surf City wannabe-proud-boys board up businesses downtown before the Black Lives Matter protests. He told the crowd that the protestors were going to burn the city down and rape the women and the children. (Spoiler alert -- there was no burning or raping.)
Ortiz also believes COVID is the flu and until recently was selling Q-Anon T-shirts on his website. He was on the Celebrity Apprentice in 2008. Donald Trump Senior fired him. Donald Trump Junior is a big fan and supported Ortiz's race for the council seat.
There were fifteen candidates running this year for three vacancies. Twelve of the candidates identified as conservatives and three were registered Democrats. Tito Ortiz received the most votes, 14.3 percent of the total, but two of the Democrats (Dan Kalmick and Natalie Moser) came in second and third. Kalmick and Moser are progressive Democrats too.
So how did we end up with two liberal lefties on the city council of conservative/right-wing/mask-hating/virus-denying Surf City?
I have a few theories.
Some conservative voters may not have gotten the message they were supposed to vote for the other two candidates in Ortiz’s pod—Gracey Van Der Mark and Casey McKeon. There were twelve conservative candidates after all. It was a lot to choose from.
Some voters may not have read the ballot closely enough to realize they could vote for three candidates and simply looked down the list for a familiar name. One HB resident who was interviewed last night on the ten o'clock news said she'd voted for Ortiz because a friend had done the research and recommended him. The friend can be heard off camera saying, "No, I actually never researched him." The woman laughs and says, "Oh, well."
Oh well, indeed. The Democratic party did a thorough job of encouraging voters to vote for all three Democratic candidates. The Democrats in HB (yes -- there are some Democrats here!) followed their party's advice and voted for all three. Dan Kalmick and Natalie Moser each received eleven percent of the vote. Oscar Rodriquez got eight percent, putting him in fifth place.
I think Kalmick's win can also be explained by the HB Police Officer's endorsement of him and Tito Ortiz. This is another interesting Surf City side show.
Although Ortiz was arrested a few years ago for felony domestic violence against his girlfriend, the mother of his twin sons, he received the endorsement of the HB Police Officers Association and the HB Police Management Associations. Kalmick was dismayed at having to share the Police Officer's endorsement with Ortiz. He was quoted as saying he keeps "HB safe by not taking up police resources by having them come to my house."
The HB Police Management Association did not support Dan Kalmick. Instead they sent a mailer out before the election calling the three Democrats running for city council as “Extreme Public Safety Risks." The candidates are shown rising from the ashes of a dystopian backdrop with smashed street signs and clouds of smoke. The wife of the city attorney donated $1,000 to fund this mailer.
In even more HB drama, Police Chief Robert Handy announced his retirement in October. Ten days later, interim Chief Kelly Rodriguez announced her own retirement citing “an unhealthy level of divisiveness” in the community.
I predict many HB residents are not going to believe Kalmick and Moser represent their best interests. I am certain Ortiz doesn’t represent mine. Yesterday, Ortiz demanded a recount of the presidential election in California, despite Joe Biden winning by nearly four million votes. This is something the Trump campaign hasn’t even considered yet.
The side show continues.