Mailbag: Political waves crash against Huntington Beach
On Sept. 5 Huntington Beach Councilwoman Natalie Moser was censured due to her questions to Mayor Pro Tem Gracey Van Der Mark, at the Aug. 1 meeting, regarding her ability to serve on the Declaration of Policy on Human Dignity review committee. Moser‘s comments were described as disrespectful. Moser represents the voices of 26,569 of our residents.
Rather than comments that Moser made, I believe the decisions of the council are more harmful and dangerous to our community; the ban of the Pride flag on city property, the book ban, the dissolution of the Human Relations Task Force, which monitors hate incidents and crimes, the rewriting of the human dignity statement by Ralph Bauer and Shirley Dettloff, taking away the meaning and essence of this declaration, the removal of the Greater Interfaith Council in doing the council invocations and the refusal to certify the Housing Element, which would provide for low income housing in HB. These actions are what is of concern to our community, not words spoken at the City Council meeting.
As a long time resident an once mayor of the city, I was disappointed and frightened to read the City Council’s agenda for the Sept. 5 meeting. Each meeting has had troubling agenda items. This agenda was by far the most difficult to understand exactly what this council wants for our city.
This city has had a long reputation of having the best library system, the best parks, thousands of wetlands saved, the best Fourth of July parade, and an outstanding Senior Center. Now this council will vote on issues to eliminate the voice of the public by eliminating several key committees and boards, like the Human Relations Committee and the Mobile Home Advisory Board and others. Also there are three charter amendments were written by council members instead of having a charter review committee made up of citizens. This is how charter amendments were studied in the past. These amendments may cost the city additional funds if they pass.
As one of the authors of the Human Dignity Statement along with former council member Dr. Ralph Bauer, I do not understand why the changes and complete rewrite of the statement are needed. This document has been signed by every council since 1996. These changes show a personal and political intent. There is no identification of those who need our protection in these terrible times of discrimination. Also, why would a council ever censure Councilwoman Natalie Moser, when all she did was put a question before the council, which could have been answered quietly and with dignity? Lastly why would you have a “No Mask and No Vaccine Mandate” when cases of COVID-19 are on the rise? Hopefully the public will be heard!
I am in favor of keeping personal disparaging remarks out of City Council meetings, Democrats and Councilwoman Natalie Moser are attempting to use many words and phrases, even if they are not true, to disparage the Republicans, such as “racist” (a favorite for Dems), “Holocaust denier,” “association with the far-right Proud Boys,” which I couldn’t care less about, “antisemitic” and anti anything and everything. The bickering needs to stop.
The council needs to stick to city business, making this city a welcome place to visit and for these visitors to spend their money at local businesses then go home with a good experience. And continue to make revenue for the city to expand the economy and help pay the police officers and City Hall.
As a former high school teacher in Huntington Beach for many years, I was struck by the letter from Diane Bentley (“Is H.B. turning a blind eye to homeless students?” Daily Pilot Mailbag, Aug. 8), which focused on the dual concerns of educating our unhoused school students and providing adequate housing for the homeless in our city. Bentley pointed out the lack of action on these issues by our “new” City Council majority even though addressing the homeless problem in Surf City was a key priority of these candidates in their campaigning. In fact, they have largely ignored them.
I attended the “town hall” put on by Mayor Tony Strickland and City Atty. Michael Gates to address the Pacific Airshow situation and the controversies surrounding it. Their message was buttressed by the usual “chamber of commerce” arguments (e.g. Visit Huntington Beach) about the value of the Pacific Airshow to our city. In the questions and comments portion of the meeting, several well-informed speakers poked holes in much of the supporting data regarding both the airshow and the handling of resulting lawsuits. Diane Bentley reiterated her concerns as well.
It was not the slam-dunk dog-and-pony show hoped for by these officials. Citing the mayor’s suggested time limit of the meeting, Strickland abruptly cut off public comments with several speakers still waiting to be heard. He knew that he would not be rescued by his supporters with “hearts and flowers” praise when so much damning data had been delivered. Several attendees complained that Strickland, as mayor of the city at his own meeting in a city facility, could have done differently.
Strickland stated that “saving the airshow” would be his signature achievement as mayor. Not addressing any of our community problems — certainly not those raised by Bentley. Far from dispelling community suspicions about the handling of the air show, the misgivings have deepened. What can either the city or Code Four (who puts on the Pacific Airshow) do? In her letter, Bentley stated, “Our housing-insecure students with no roof over their heads are left staring at the sky as the Pacific Airshow jets zoom overhead.” Maybe free “student” tickets for them?
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