Pacific Airshow settlement ‘reeks’ of cronyism, says critic who files suit against H.B.

Mayor Tony Strickland speaks during a press conference about the Pacific Airshow on May 9 at Huntington Beach Pier Plaza.
Mayor Tony Strickland speaks during a May 9 press conference about “saving” the Pacific Airshow with a settlement. This week a member of the Ocean View School District school board filed suit against the city for not disclosing all the terms of the settlement.
(Scott Smeltzer / Daily Pilot)
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Good morning. It’s Wednesday, June 14. We are Carol Cormaci and Vince Nguyen, bringing you this week’s TimesOC newsletter. Together we’ve aggregated the latest local news and events.

Controversy continues to follow the city of Huntington Beach, which found itself in the news again after a member of a local school board filed a suit demanding that City Atty. Michael Gates publicly release the documents related to the recent big-ticket settlement with Pacific Airshow operator Code Four.

You may remember the May declaration during a press conference hosted by Mayor Tony Strickland that the Pacific Airshow had been “saved” via the settlement of a lawsuit Code Four had brought against Huntington Beach after it was forced to cancel the last day of the 2021 show due to the notorious oil spill off the coastline.


On the day of the mayor’s breathless announcement, Gates confirmed the city had agreed to pay Code Four $4,999,000 over the next six years. Specifically, $1,999,000, is due on or before July 31 of this year and an additional $500,000 is due by Jan. 30 of 2024 and each of the following five years. There were additional concessions: the city will forgive $200,000 the Pacific Airshow still owes on the 2021 show and refund $149,200 in other fees it incurred. Further, the city will pay to the Pacific Airshow up to $2 million, after attorney fees and costs, of Huntington Beach’s recovery in its own oil spill lawsuit, our colleague Matt Szabo outlined in his earlier reporting.

While the city attorney spoke on the broad strokes of the agreement with Code Four in an executive summary, he stopped short of providing the settlement documents. Yesterday, Szabo reported on the lawsuit filed June 7 by Ocean View School District Board of Trustees vice president Gina Clayton-Tarvin that demands their release.

“That settlement document is a public document,” Clayton-Tarvin told Szabo in an interview Monday. “There is no ifs, ands or buts about it. When you settle with a party and you go out and announce to the public that we’ve saved the airshow and we have come to an amazing settlement … you can’t then walk it back. California law stipulates that documents that are held by government entities should, as practice, be released to the public. That’s in the best interests of the public.”

Clayton-Tarvin raises the specter of dirty politics in her suit. She was an also-ran in last fall’s City Council election, in which she placed fifth after being defeated by four conservatives who ran as a bloc with Gates, who was seeking reelection and were supported by Code Four owner Kevin Elliott.

“This entire settlement reeks of impropriety,” Clayton-Tarvin told Szabo. “We know the facts. The facts are that Mr. Gates and Mr. Elliott do business with each other, they are friends, they have enriched each other.”

Gates maintains that everything is above board with the settlement, according to the report.

“This was handled just like any other lawsuit or settlement,” Gates said. “It’s kind of a weird situation to have people insisting we disclose the full settlement when we have pending litigation. That’s what the state law contemplates when it says we don’t have to disclose. We’re not compelled to disclose it … I’m pretty confident about our reading of state law and our requirements under state law. If the judge disagrees with me and orders disclosure, then I’ll abide by that, obviously.”

We’ll be watching this story and posting updates for you here.


Visitors look out over a waterfall at Three Sisters Falls on April 16, 2023.
Visitors look out over a waterfall at Three Sisters Falls on April 16 in the Cleveland National Forest. A 48-year-old Ladera Ranch woman died after falling from a ledge overlooking the waterfall last Thursday.
(Sandy Huffaker / For The San Diego Union-Tribune)

A 48-year-old Ladera Ranch woman died and a 15-year-old girl was injured Thursday morning when they fell from the ledge of the Three Sisters waterfall in the Cleveland National Forest, authorities said. The woman tried to keep the child from going over the edge, but both ultimately fell. The woman was identified as Sarah Louise Crocker.

Orange County Transportation Authority board members voted Monday to declare an emergency to expedite construction of a barrier to shore up the sliding hillside in San Clemente that has shut down rail traffic, City News Service reported. The declaration gives the OCTA’s chief executive, Darrell Johnson, authority to approve contracts that are more than $250,000 for the work. For the latest updates and alerts on Amtrak service, check

Emotions ran high at yesterday’s meeting of the O.C. Board of Supervisors during a discussion of whether or not to approve a resolution backing June as Pride Month. Despite the heated personal attacks hurled across the dais, the five-member board unanimously agreed to the decree.

A teacher from El Dorado High School in Placentia was placed on leave over a lesson on sexual anatomy in which she discussed prostate simulation, anal penetration and sex toys. Placentia-Yorba Linda School Unified District officials are investigating the incident.

A sperm whale was found off the coast of Dana Point on June 8.
(Courtesy of Matt Stumpf/Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari)

Three sperm whales have been seen off the Orange County coastline this month during whale-watching tours. According to the Los Angeles Times report on the rare sightings, the three are believed to be adult males, 50 to 60 feet long, and two have been given nicknames by boat captain and wildlife photographer Delaney Trowbridge: Coconut and Papaya.

An Orange County Grand Jury report called the status quo at the O.C Animal Shelter “unacceptable.” According to this article by our colleague Eric Licas, the shelter was deemed by the grand jury to be too understaffed to provide adequate care for the pets it houses, its adoption process limits people’s ability to connect with potential companions, and euthanasia rates for stray cats and dogs are rising.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was in Newport Beach yesterday afternoon for her third fundraiser in three days in SoCal since she declared her candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Cost to attend the local luncheon event was set at $1,000 per plate.

Plans for a confined aquatic disposal site in Newport Bay have been put on hold as a result of a lawsuit filed by Orange County Coastkeeper. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers confirmed the dredging project was on pause but did not comment further.


Newport Beach attorney Sara King
Newport Beach attorney Sara King admitted to fabricating loan documents and stealing over $10 million in a fraud scheme. She faces up to 30 years in prison.
(Courtesy of Central District of California)

Newport Beach attorney Sara Jacqueline King this week admitted blowing $8 million from investors on Vegas gambling sprees. King, who pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering, admitted in court documents filed Monday that she lied about providing loans to professional athletes and celebrities in order to get investors to hand over millions of dollars. King, who could face up to 30 years in prison, has agreed to pay at least $8,785,045 in restitution. She is next expected in court on June 20.

A 39-year-old woman pleaded guilty last Wednesday and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for a drunken driving collision that killed a 23-year-old man in Costa Mesa five years ago. Kimberly Renee Martin pleaded guilty through tears to second-degree murder in the May 1, 2018, crash that killed Enrique Orlando Marquez.

The Irvine Police Department is asking for the public’s help in finding a man who sexually assaulted a woman in Irvine. The suspect, described as a man in his 20s, possibly 5-foot-10, weighing 160 pounds, with reddish-brown hair, was last seen Saturday fleeing near UC Irvine’s North Campus wearing a gray short-sleeve T-shirt, black shorts and black flip-flop sandals, according to CNS.


The Italian sausage sandwich at Award Wieners inside Disney’s California Adventure.
The Italian sausage sandwich at Award Wieners inside Disney’s California Adventure, one of 10 food writer Edwin Goei recommends.
(Edwin Goei)

If you’re venturing out to the Disneyland Resort this summer, you might want to refuel with a meal at the park. To help you whittle down your choices, food writer Edwin Goei has provided a top-10 list of the best sandwiches you can grub on while you’re there, perhaps taking advantage of the park’s lower priced tickets announced this week.

Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa has cut a $5-million deal with Walt Disney Co. to purchase the last radio station remaining in its once-larger holdings under the ABC Radio umbrella, KRDC, according to Calvary already owns religious stations “K-Wave 107.9” KWVE Los Angeles and KSDW San Diego (88.9). KRDC in Los Angeles served as the Radio Disney flagship station from 2003 to 2017.


Workers secure a new archway to the entrance of the Secret Garden in Huntington Central Park Friday.
Eulaleo Urkuesa-Gonzalez, Edgar Herrera and Juan Lemus of Naddour’s Custom Metal Work secure a new archway to the entrance of the Secret Garden in Huntington Central Park Friday.
(Eric Licas / Daily Pilot)

Volunteers with the Huntington Beach Tree Society celebrated the installation of a new archway at the Secret Garden, a feature of the Huntington Central Park they’ve been taking care of for the past decade. The addition is the latest bit of renovation at the garden, where heavy rains have created numerous trip hazards, and forced the space to close to the public in April.

Animal rescue groups are raising funds to help Westminster dog foster mom Karla Boss fulfill a longtime dream of helping big canines from Southern California find more suitable homes elsewhere.

The cost of living in Laguna Beach is taking a toll on the number of exhibitors for the Sawdust Art Festival. Sawdust rules require artists to be a Laguna Beach resident, but efforts to attracting younger artists is underway, including reducing the amount of a time a person has to live in the city before they can be in their first show.


Aria Fischer was a 2017 graduate of Laguna Beach High School.
Aria Fischer gestures after scoring against ROC in the semifinals of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. Laguna Beach alumna Aria Fischer was named the Peter J. Cutino Award winner for 2023.
(Courtesy of Jeff Cable / USA Water Polo )

Laguna Beach alumna Aria Fischer was named the Peter J. Cutino Award winner for 2023. The Stanford redshirt senior helped the Cardinal win the NCAA title this year. A four-time All-American, she led Stanford in goals (71) and assists (45) this season. Fischer, MPSF Tournament and NCAA Tournament MVP this year, won three CIF championships with Laguna Beach.

It was a marathon start for the Angels in its four-game series against the AL West-leading Texas Rangers on Monday. After tying the game with a solo home run in the seventh inning, Shohei Ohtani’s two-run homer to lead off the 12th inning lifted the Angels to a 9-6 victory in the series opener. As of Tuesday afternoon, the Angels sit third in the AL West standings behind the Rangers and reigning World Series champion Houston Astros.


A child holds a sunbeam snake at the 2019 Repticon show.
Scarlett Guerrero, then 6, holds a sunbeam snake during the 2019 Repticon show.
(Spencer Grant)

Repticon, a show featuring reptile pets, supplies and related merchandise will be held this weekend at the OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Fountain Valley’s annual Summerfest begins tomorrow night and runs through Sunday at Fountain Valley Sports Park, 16400 Brookhurst St. The event features carnival rides, food, a drone show and live bands. Hours are 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 2 to 11 p.m. Saturday; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5, with children 5 and under admitted free. For more information, go here.

The Taste of Japan Festival returns to the Anaheim STC Gardenwalk, 400 Disney Way, from 4 to 9 p.m. this Friday and from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday. Admission to the festival is free. Organizers promise offerings such as Japanese cuisine, pop culture exhibits, entertainment and unique merchandise for sale.


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