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UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz has been mayor pro tem of Huntington Beach for less than two months, but he may not be for much longer.
Ortiz, who was elected to the city council and chosen as mayor pro tem (similar to a vice mayor) when he was sworn in on Dec. 7, is facing a vote of no confidence from the mayor and two other council members.
Ortiz, a Republican, was elected on a platform that heavily supported Donald Trump. However, Ortiz supports conspiracy theories about COVID-19, the vaccine and mask wearing. It’s those opinions that appear to have gotten him in hot water with the city council.
Ortiz’s anti-mask stance rankles council, local business
Since Ortiz was elected in November, his anti-mask stance — which was part of his platform — has gotten him in trouble. At his first city council strategic planning meeting on Nov. 5, Ortiz attempted to enter the local library, where the meeting was being held, without a mask. California mandates that people wear masks outside the home, so Mayor Kim Carr barred him from the building.
Instead of going home to get a mask, Ortiz sat in his car and attended the meeting via Zoom.
At a city council meeting just before Christmas, Ortiz attended without a mask. That bothered at least one of his fellow council members, who spoke about it during the meeting. Ortiz responded by making an accusation, and the meeting devolved into bickering.
Before that meeting ended, Ortiz seconded a motion and then voted against it immediately after, causing the decision to be reversed. That was just his second-ever city council meeting.
In January, Ortiz was refused service at a local burger joint TK Burgers because he wasn’t wearing a mask. He posted a video criticizing the restaurant and saying “You lose my business, you lose [Huntington Beach’s] business.”
The video caused a massive response in favor of TK Burgers, with people coming out in droves — all wearing masks — to support the business. Ortiz later apologized.
Backlash to Ortiz’s controversial opinions
Ortiz, who has identified himself as a QAnon supporter, said at a recent city council meeting that he believes that the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol were a false flag operation carried out by Black Lives Matter and Antifa, accusations that have been proven false. He abstained from the council’s vote to “Reaffirm American Democratic Principles and Practices.”
Ortiz has also been posting other theories about the riots on his social media accounts.
Between that and his opinions on mask wearing, city residents started calling into city council meetings specifically to criticize Ortiz.
The vote of no confidence is scheduled to take place Monday night. If the vote is successful, Ortiz would be removed as mayor pro tem, but would retain his spot on the city council.
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