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Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz barred from meeting for not wearing mask

Huntington Beach City Clerk Robin Estanislau, left, swears in new Mayor Kim Carr and Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz in December.
Huntington Beach City Clerk Robin Estanislau, left, swears in new Mayor Kim Carr and Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz in December. Ortiz was barred from a meeting Tuesday for refusing to wear a mask.
(Matt Szabo / Times Community News)

As the Huntington Beach City Council gathered in the city’s Central Library for a meeting Tuesday, Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz got settled in his car.

Ortiz has been candid in his refusal to wear a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite public health orders that require it, and he posted on his Instagram that Mayor Kim Carr told him he couldn’t come into the meeting without one.

Rather than comply, Ortiz participated in Tuesday’s strategic planning and goal-setting workshop via Zoom from the library parking lot.

“Great way to start the new year off,” Ortiz said facetiously in the video. “Embarrassing.”

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The mayor pro tem gave away Christmas dinners maskless on Wednesday, in association with the Kiwanis Club of Huntington Beach.

Carr said Tuesday night that City Manager Oliver Chi sent two emails telling council members that masks were mandatory for the meeting because it was indoors.

The mayor said she did ask Ortiz to wear a mask before entering the building Tuesday morning, but he refused and walked out.

“I was pleasantly surprised that he decided to ‘Zoom’ in because I want him to participate,” Carr said.

Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz attended a meeting Tuesday via Zoom because he refused to wear a mask inside.
(Matt Szabo / Times Community News)

“I want him to be engaged and involved in the community, but I also want him to do it safely. ... We’re following all of the guidelines set by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], by the state, by the county,” she continued. “I’m not asking him to do anything out of the ordinary or anything that’s above and beyond what elected officials all over the United States are adhering to.”

Ortiz, a former mixed martial arts star, was elected to the council in November.

Szabo writes for Times Community News.


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