Lyn Semeta assumed the mayor’s seat at Monday night’s Huntington Beach City Council meeting, replacing former mayor Erik Peterson in the council’s annual reorganization.
The council voted unanimously to promote Semeta, who was formerly mayor pro tem. Councilwoman Jill Hardy will take Semeta’s former position. They will serve in those posts for the next year.
Both were sworn in surrounded by their families.
Hardy, who is entering the final year of her second consecutive four-year term, will leave office after next year’s election because of term limits.
“We seem to have the perfect mayor for the perfect time,” Hardy said. “I understand how perfect Mayor Peterson was this year.”
Semeta agreed that Peterson was the right person to lead council meetings when comments turned heated at times.
“But it’s possible to disagree, even have radically different opinions from each other, while still respecting each other,” Semeta said.
Semeta introduced the Mayor’s Commitment to Community award, which she said will be given for meaningful community participation.
Semeta and Hardy said they are proud to be leading the council for 2020, which marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which granted American women the right to vote.
Hardy had a word of advice for the first-time mayor: “You are about to learn a whole new level of busy.”
Semeta, an artist, made a commitment to arts initiatives in the city.
Huntington Beach moves to adopt new sister city
In the council’s last action under Peterson’s leadership, it unanimously approved a resolution to invite Biarritz, France, to be a sister city.
Councilman Mike Posey called Biarritz — a seaside town on the Basque coast of southwestern France — the “Surf City of Europe” and commended the move by the council.
Peterson described the two cities as having kindred personalities, being that Biarritz began forming its identity as a surfing destination in the 1950s and has established a surf scene and a “bravado” that sets itself apart from its larger cultural surroundings.
The partnership with Biarritz would complement Huntington Beach’s sister city relationships with Anjo, Japan, which was officially instated in 1992, and Manly, Australia, which informally began in 2012.