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Mailbag: Are the anti-masker protestors proud of their ignorance, or do they just crave attention?

Trump supporters gather for an anti-mask "freedom march" in Huntington Beach on Monday, June 14.
Trump supporters gather for an anti-mask “freedom march” in Huntington Beach on Monday, June 14. A reader writes to say he’s baffled as to what their motivation might be.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Try as I might to understand the exhibition of defiance displayed by this parade of so-called Freedom Marchers in my beloved Huntington Beach, on the eve of the lifting of most mask requirements no less, I remain baffled as to their motivation.

Are they proud of their ignorance? Are they, like their Dear Leader Donald Trump, on a never-ending search for attention and public disruption? Please, someone, help me to understand these petulant people. Perhaps the answer is as simple this: Stupidity has gone viral. But if there are other possible explanations I would appreciate knowing what they are. Please share your thoughts.

Ben Miles
Huntington Beach

I will admit to being a little nervous about the “cattle call” approach the Huntington Beach City Council is using to select its replacement for Tito Ortiz. While the application and interview process certainly beats having a special election (which could go sideways), it guarantees a measure of civic drama and controversy that a straight appointment from the front-runners of the 2020 local election might have avoided. I believe the community desires and needs a replacement that is qualified, capable of working with colleagues on the Council, represents the diversity and “new blood” the voters signaled as important, and who is motivated to serve the city and not just use the office for personal or partisan gain. As I have mentioned previously, this is the opportunity for the City Council to get it right. The future of our local government depends on it.

Tim Geddes
Huntington Beach

Even though I watched both the city council meeting where Tito Ortiz resigned and the special city council meeting called to address how his newly vacant city council seat would be filled live, I enjoyed reading reporter Matt Szabo’s concise overview of these events. While I felt his description of what happened was spot-on, Szabo’s assessment of Huntington Beach’s current city council situation was off.

Szabo correctly identifies the political leanings of the remaining council members and the even split in terms of traditional party identifications. What he failed to mention, however, is that the current divide on the Huntington Beach City Council is not a matter of party affiliation. Nope. The divide on this council is between the members who’ve united to embrace constructive governance and those who haven’t.

You see, HB’s city council has experienced somewhat of a renaissance since the last election. Whereas previous city councils seemed to meander aimlessly, bouncing from one grievance-filled meeting to the next, there seems to be a new focus since last December. Our current city council has defined its mission as supporting projects and initiatives to improve the quality of life for HB residents while keeping an eye on our community’s future. Five reliable and consistent votes have found common ground and acted to put the interests of our city ahead of political identity and partisan antics.

In appointing a replacement for the vacant city council seat, the HB City Council should be seeking an applicant possessing a constructive intent and a proven track record of public service. Someone who can help broaden the scope of representation in our community and round out the current constructive coalition with an affirmative voice for those who often go unheard.

This appointment could go one of three ways: 1) empower a constructive voice, 2) selecting a benign bystander, or 3) tolerate a new divisive distraction. And in the end, our city council’s selection could have a lot to do with how we move forward.

Every Huntington Beach resident should be hoping for a new member of the HB’s Constructive Coalition.

Steve Shepherd
Huntington Beach

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