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Mailbag: City councils should stick to local issues

A facade bearing the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The facade bearing the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution on the front of the Newseum, a private museum dedicated to exploring modern history as told through the eyes of journalists, on the last day it was open in Washington. The facade was later reinstalled at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
(Susan Walsh / AP)
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Huntington Beach Councilman Dan Kalmick was on the right track by submitting a facetious item for the forthcoming agenda as a satire to the frivolous item submitted by Mayor Pro Tem Pat Burns. Perhaps if right-wing Councilman Burns took a constitutional law class he might better understand what the constitution is about. The first 10 amendments are known as the Bill of Rights. Each amendment stands alone in its importance, with none being more important than another. The 1st Amendment stands for freedom of speech and the press. The 2nd Amendment has been held to deal with the right to bear arms, however the first clause is usually ignored: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

At the time the constitution was written, there was no standing militia, while at the present time, every state in the union has a national guard unit. Once the details of the $7-million settlement with the air show organizer is revealed, the conservative four on the City Council may choose to have the 5th Amendment, “the right to remain silent” become the city motto.

So Kalmick correctly confronted Burn’s ridiculous suggestion that the 1st and 2nd Amendments be considered as the city’s motto.

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Richard C. Armendariz
Huntington Beach

Why is the Huntington Beach City Council wasting everyone’s time dealing with issues over which it has no governing power? Our 1st and 2nd Amendments are established and will not change based on Councilman Pat Burns’ recommendations. Wake up and focus on fixing our streets, maintaining city safety, and addressing the issues within members’ jurisdiction.

Council majority, stop acting as if you have more authority than you do. Your behavior is reminiscent of a wrestler who has suffered one too many concussions. Instead of creating additional cultural conflicts, work on bringing this city together. Stop turning city meetings into a “Face the Nation” type show with your meaningless proposals.

Andrew Einhorn
Huntington Beach

Re: 3 Huntington Beach Council members walk out of meeting in protest, Daily Pilot, June 5: As reported by Matt Szabo (confirming my own experience), on June 4 Mayor Pro-Tem Pat Burns declared publicly from the City Council dais that Council members Dan Kalmick, Rhonda Bolton and Natalie Moser were “pieces of s—.” What does that say about Mr. Burns?

Linda Sapiro Moon
Huntington Beach

Run for Huntington Beach City Council as conservatives on a platform of fighting high-density housing, ending homelessness within 90 days and balancing the budget. Once elected, revise the Policy on Human Dignity to remove hate crime references and to only recognize gender from birth as male or female. Change the flag policy so the Pride flag can no longer be flown on city property. Dissolve the Human Relations Committee and several others that foster citizen involvement and transparency. Disband the Interfaith Council for invocations and invite only Christians. Move purportedly “sexually explicit” books in the children’s and teen library to the adults-only section based on the Wikipedia description of pornography. Assemble a parent advisory board of 21 political appointees to screen children’s books and proposed purchases “to protect children” (all decisions final, no appeals). Post a Request for Proposal to outsource management of our award-winning public library to a private, for-profit entity. And approve an absurd resolution affirming our city’s commitment to the Constitution (which is actually part of the council members’ oath of office), and specially recognizing that we are a 1st and 2nd Amendment-friendly city.

The city’s budget is out of whack, with the city attorney’s office now at over $4 million for 2024/25, arguably due to Michael Gates and the conservative majority endlessly fighting the state of California, based on our status as a charter city with special rights to do whatever we want. Despite our financial woes, Mayor Van Der Mark, Mayor Pro Tem Burns, Councilman Tony Strickland, Police Chief and Interim City Manager Parra, and the City Council’s political analyst spent taxpayer money on an “advocacy trip” to Washington, D.C. to request federal funding and met with representatives for less than eight hours. More likely it was to hobnob with fellow conservatives and burnish their MAGA credentials in hopes of garnering former President Trump’s attention.

Van Der Mark, Burns and Councilman Casey McKeon are featured speakers at an upcoming God, Guns, Government “Election Action Summit.” What’s next? Our own militia? Open carry? An NRA convention since no normal tourists will want to come here, despite our valiant efforts to retain and even increase tourism? Unfortunately, we’re learning the consequences of electing candidates, both locally and nationally, with big egos, extremist ideology and no moral compass.

Maybe we should be flying the Huntington Beach city flag upside down.

Michele Burgess
Huntington Beach

I am feeling somewhat like a veteran general being called out of retirement to defend our city once again, but the “enemy” isn’t an outside intruder. This time the “enemy” is from within. Painfully, members of our our own Huntington Beach City Council.

Councilman Dan Kalmick had it right when he said his time would be better spent facing serious issues that affect the everyday living of our citizens. Imagine! A council person who actually sees the needs of people without a home, cares about defending our irreplaceable coastline from degradation, welcomes our need to upgrade our city services to assist all who choose to call Huntington Beach home (as have I for over 40 years). And speaking of “home,” perhaps the council majority need to pay more attention to the idea of home and how all of us can contribute daily to making it a better place to live rather than dragging us into the escapades going on at a national level.

Maybe the idea of rereading parts of the Constitution isn’t all bad, folks, especially for four members of our council. It could well be a first reading! Go for it!

Merle Moshiri
Huntington Beach

Library supporters on edge

The 1,250-plus members of the Friends of the Huntington Beach Library and the Friends of the Children’s Library donate about $300,000 annually to the library. In 2023, library volunteers provided over 33,000 hours of service at all library locations valued at $1.2 million. As a member of Friends, I can attest that this hard-working group of volunteers is one of our city’s greatest assets, along with the library.

One would think that given the dedication and capability of this volunteer base, our city and council majority would reach out to us to discuss the possibility of privatizing the beloved public library system to a for-profit corporation. Instead, since January we have been on pins and needles waiting to learn how our community and lives will be impacted. One thing is certain: Most of us will stop volunteering if our library is outsourced to an out-of-state company run by a private equity fund.

In recent years, most libraries in California and across the country have rejected library privatization bids from corporate entities because book collections are decimated and programming deteriorates. The only way these companies can make profits for their investors is to cut library staffing, hours and services. This is why a growing number of libraries have canceled their corporate outsourcing contracts and why only a minuscule number of libraries nationwide have taken this extreme step to overhaul their libraries. Taxpayers don’t want their money being spent in this way.

As dedicated community volunteers, we deserve information. And to halt library privatization, sign the ballot initiative petition in front of the Central Library or other spots throughout town!

Carol Daus
Huntington Beach

Kudos to Apodaca

Patrice Apodaca’s column “Resistance is growing in Huntington Beach” (Daily Pilot, June 2) was especially demanding of response. Although Apodaca does not live in Surf City, residing in neighboring Newport Beach, she has had a reliable finger on the pulse of goings-on in our city for years. One can easily identify with what is transpiring in Huntington Beach to the Resistance movement in Nazi-occupied France during World War II where a large segment of the community is raging against the despotic City Council majority and its tyrannical dictates. Although, as with war-torn France, it took several years for the Resistance to be successful, we have seen the overreach of the amateur authoritarians in charge regarding our library issues that could ultimately reverse the tide of oppression many are feeling this year. The hope is that the brazenness of the current council majority will give pause to voters towards supporting their acolytes running for City Council in November. Kudos to Patrice Apodaca for her spot-on observations.

Tim Geddes
Huntington Beach

The Daily Pilot & TimesOC serves as vital solution to local news drought. As a recent example of your coverage, Patricia Apodaca’s editorial shines a spotlight on who’s doing what in our renegade Huntington Beach City Council.

It’s dismaying though, that the rainbow flag topped Apodaca’s list of new policies enacted by reactionary council members. Social dividers of the MAGA persuasion revel in “culture war” issues to hide their incompetence as public managers. Meanwhile they scheme to raid the city treasury. As voters form old battle lines over issues like gender fluidity, incompetents on the council make plans to sell off precious public assets and shirk facing the challenges facing Huntington Beach today, among them climate change and auto glut. Regarding the latter, check out the book “The Walkable City” for some inspiring visions we could be turning into reality instead of debating children’s books.

Local residents of a progressive persuasion would do well to study the case of the “sewer socialists” of the American Midwest in the first half of the 20th century. They attained political power by providing the fundamental city services that raise everyone’s standard of living — and thus, I suspect, defuse the kind of free-floating resentment and anxiety that fuel demagogues’ appeal.

Sam Coleman
Huntington Beach

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