Mailbag: New H.B. council members are giving short shrift to those with experience

Huntington Beach City Council members Gracey Van Der Mark, left, Tony Strickland, Pat Burns and Casey McKeon.
Newly elected members of the Huntington Beach City Council Gracey Van Der Mark, left, Tony Strickland, Pat Burns and Casey McKeon sit on the dais during the swearing in ceremony on Dec. 6, 2022.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

While many local occurrences and events shaped 2022 in Huntington Beach, easily the most profound was the election of four conservatives to the City Council, which created an instant majority of new members with zero prior service on the dais. While this no doubt pleased their right-wing supporters, it gave many in the community pause as to how this new majority would conduct themselves in running our local government. It remained to be seen how they would convert rhetoric into results. It remained to be seen how brazenly they would operate in consolidating power and begin lording it over a city and a citizenry who had succumbed to brute-force electioneering by partisan special interests. As we found out in 2020 with the election of an inexperienced and unfit “popular” candidate, having a so-called mandate with no real qualifications to govern does not guarantee success in being a civic leader.

Sure enough, one of the first acts of the new majority was to ignore experience, performance and ability in choosing council liaisons to city boards and commissions. The new majority heaped an impossible amount of representation on itself while giving short shrift to the three experienced council members who had served their constituencies well and faithfully. We’ll see how well their power grab turns out with the first board and commission meetings in January. If the public is ill-served by this usurpation, how long will it be before recall rumblings begin, much as was started against their previous opponents?

Tim Geddes
Huntington Beach

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