TimesOC: Residents seek to recall majority of Huntington Beach council

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TimesOC, a newsletter about Orange County, is published Wednesdays and Fridays.
(Los Angeles Times)

Good morning and welcome to the TimesOC newsletter.

It’s Friday, Aug. 6. I’m Ben Brazil, bringing you the latest roundup of Orange County news and events.

It’s been two months since controversial former Councilman Tito Ortiz stepped down from the Huntington Beach dais, and Surf City politics still has not recovered.


A group of Huntington Beach residents are now attempting to recall six of the seven council members due to their “failure to protect the interests of the citizens of Huntington Beach and damaging the city charter by surrendering local zoning control to the state.” The group calls itself Save Surf City, but it isn’t clear who is actually behind the effort because the group’s website doesn’t name names.

Reporter Matt Szabo wrote this week that the group served notices of intent to recall to council members Kim Carr, Rhonda Bolton, Barbara Delgleize, Dan Kalmick, Natalie Moser and Mike Posey. However, Bolton isn’t eligible to be recalled because she hasn’t served 90 days in office. Conservative Councilman Erik Peterson is the only council member not being targeted. Peterson wasn’t at the meeting this week.

This action comes just a week after the council appointed Bolton to take Ortiz’s spot on the dais. Bolton, an attorney, is believed to be the first Black council member in the city’s history.

Some of the public speakers at the meeting this week mentioned Save Surf City, including resident Russell Neal.

“We love this city and have worked hard to earn our own little piece of this paradise,” Neal said. “We are not inclined to let you destroy it without a fight.”

Szabo wrote that the six council members that received notices of the intent to recall will each have seven days to file a response. The petition to recall will then be published in a local newspaper. If the petitions are approved, then they would have to receive the signatures of at least 10% of Huntington Beach registered voters to trigger a recall election.

The last person to speak at this week’s council meeting was Gracey Van Der Mark, who unsuccessfully ran for council last year. Van Der Mark was removed from two school district panels in 2018 for allegedly referring to minorities as “colored people” in a YouTube video.

“Everyone wants to pat themselves on the back like something’s changing, and nothing changes,” she said. “We’re not being disrespectful. We just want to be heard.”

Rhonda Bolton addresses the Huntington Beach City Council.
(Spencer Grant)


The Orange County Board of Education, despite not having much power to determine anything in the county’s educational system, continues to make noise and cause controversy. The board decided this week to sue Gov. Gavin Newsom over a state mandate that requires students to wear masks while indoors on school campus. Last year, the board unsuccessfully sued Newsom to reopen schools for in-person instruction. Los Angeles Times

Following the U.S. Capitol riot and moves across the country to undermine trust in elections, a pair of UC Irvine professors started the Fair Elections and Free Speech Center, which will host public events, publish reports and provide legal support to the university’s law clinics, while also focusing on international threats to democratic elections and speech issues. TimesOC

A Costa Mesa charter school can resume instruction after almost facing notice of violation due to budget discrepancies and a parent’s complaint that they were being charged for on-site instruction. The Orange County Board of Education, which regulates charter schools in the county, decided this week that the International School for Science and Culture had done enough to resolve the issues that had put the school at risk of violation. Daily Pilot

The Costa Mesa City Council decided this week that planning commissioners don’t need to live in the districts they represent or be U.S. citizens. The council’s decision will allow for commissioners to change residences in the city and provides council members with more freedom to appoint commissioners. But, the narrow 4-3 vote faced some pushback from residents. Daily Pilot


Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon’s season is done after suffering a right-hip impingement. The All-Star had been suffering with injuries all season, having been out since July 5 with a strained hamstring. The team expects Rendon to be ready to go by opening day next season. Los Angeles Times

Maddie Musselman, who used to play for the Corona del Mar High water polo team, is helping the United States Olympic women’s water polo team as it gets closer to claiming its third consecutive gold medal. Musselman scored five goals this week to help claim a 15-11 win over the Russians. Musselman and her team will face a tough test as they face Spain for the gold medal on Saturday morning. Daily Pilot

Ocean View High School’s senior pitcher Desyree Arizmendi was named the divisional Player of the Year this week. Arizmendi went 9-3 this season, posting a 1.44 earned run average over 78 innings, with 109 strikeouts and 12 walks. Arizmendi is taking her talents to the University of La Verne. Daily Pilot


Pacific Symphony will perform three outdoor concerts later this month in Irvine, Mission Viejo and Orange as part of its annual “Symphony in the Cities” series. The music will be a mix of classics, popular and patriotic music. There will also be a sing-along. Children will be able to learn how to conduct from conductor Carl St.Clair and could help lead the orchestra during the concert. TimesOC

There are a number of shows and museums to visit in Orange County over the next month, including a photo exhibit at the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach and contemporary mosaic artwork at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton. Los Angeles Times


Columnist Patrice Apodaca wrote about how we live in an age where information is readily available at our fingertips, but accurate information is harder to come by. Daily Pilot

A reader from Huntington Beach wrote about how the Cal Grant could help California students with crippling student loan debts, but the Cal Grant system needs major reworking. Daily Pilot

Question of the Week

Orange County is a big, diverse community with a bustling entertainment and tourist industry. Yet the county has major hurdles to overcome — homelessness, climate change, political corruption and law enforcement misconduct. Oh, and a pandemic. We want to hear your opinions on these subjects!

Each week, we’ll ask you a new question and post some of the answers in the following newsletter.

Last week, we asked you: What is your view on ethnic studies and critical race theory being taught in schools in Orange County? Explain.

Here are some of the responses we got:

“I believe studies of American history must include studies of race relations. Perhaps, in order to reduce controversy, the name of the course should be changed to ‘the study of race relations.’ Black people have always been a part of American culture. What that part was, and is, should be taught. Parents have, and should be able to express their opinions about a teacher and even how that teacher teaches. However, they have not, and should not, be able to define what is taught. That has been true of classes in the sciences and the arts as long as I can remember (FYI: I’m 78 yrs old). Let the teachers teach what the school district defines as the curriculum. That is what they’ve been hired to do.” —Michael Newman

“Ridiculous to contend that that this subject which is designed to accurately present the history of race relations would in any way marginalize or ‘blame’ white students.” —Eugene Wood

Now for this week’s question (please keep your answer to 75 words or less):

With companies and local governments considering vaccine mandates, what is your view on people being required to get a COVID-19 vaccine? Explain.

Send your answer to Ben at benjamin.brazil@latimes.com.

Stay in Touch

If you have a memory or story about Orange County, we would love to read it (please keep your story to 100 words or less).

We want your help in making this the best newsletter it can be. Send any tips or comments to benjamin.brazil@latimes.com or carol.cormaci@latimes.com.

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