A Huntington Beach planning commissioner resigned after facing public backlash for comments he made online denigrating Islam, it was announced Monday at the City Council meeting.
Michael Hoskinson, who works as a real estate broker, stepped down from his role on the Planning Commission in the wake of public criticism over a YouTube video of him giving a lecture on political correctness.
In the video, Hoskinson criticized Islam, declaring, "I think Islam is definitely a threat. I don't call it a religion at all."
He also criticized a group of Jewish intellectuals from the 1920s and railed against "leftists."
Hoskinson was appointed to the commission by Councilman Erik Peterson in 2014. It is customary for each council member to choose a commissioner.
Peterson declined Monday night to comment on Hoskinson's resignation.
Mayor Barbara Delgleize said Peterson had notified her of Hoskinson's resignation on Sunday.
Delgleize said last week that she had received several calls from residents upset with Hoskinson's online activity and demanding that he step down from the Planning Commission.
Delgleize said Tuesday morning that she was "glad" the issue was quickly resolved.
"If you're an elected official, or appointed by an elected official, you are held to a higher standard," she said.
In an email exchange with the Daily Pilot, Hoskinson wrote last week that he was not antagonistic toward Islam and was proud of his service to the community.
Hoskinson had recently posted a statement on his Facebook page addressing his comments and social media activity.
He did not attend the council meeting Monday and could not be reached for comment following the announcement of his resignation.
Mahboob Akhter, a board member of the Orange County Islamic Foundation, based in Mission Viejo, said Tuesday morning that he wished Hoskinson had engaged the Muslim community rather than resign.
"He may have resigned simply because it was made public, but that doesn't change things for the community," Akhter said. "For the sake of the country and harmony between communities, it would have been good for Hoskinson to engage with the communities he has spoken about. We need to bridge the gaps. I don't want to criticize him; I think he hasn't had exposure to other views."
At the council meeting, members of the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council, an organization that promotes religious and cultural diversity, showed their support for the change on the commission.
Peggy Price, a founding member of the group, told City Council members she was grateful for the change.
"It isn't just our beautiful beaches and our wonderful facilities, it's the people, it's the community," Price said. "Every one of the people in this community is your constituent and they all deserve a voice. So I am grateful that the decision was made to make a change on the Planning Commission so that whoever comes into that role sees every constituent as a member of this community."
Peterson announced Clem Dominguez as his new Planning Commission appointee. Dominguez had been serving on the General Plan Committee, to which he was appointed by Peterson in 2014.