In Huntington Beach, The Unsurprising Fall Of A Meathead COVID-Denying Not-Mayor
After just six months in office, Tito Ortiz, a former UFC fighter inducted into that sport's hall of fame, resigned Tuesday night as mayor pro tem (essentially a vice mayor) of Huntington Beach, California. After being elected on an anti-mask platform, calling the COVID-19 crisis a "plandemic" at his swearing-in, spreading Donald Trump's big election lie, and then crying a whole bunch about being victimized by cruel partisans, Ortiz will now serve as a warning to children that being on TV in a made-up sport (calm down, all sports are made up) doesn't mean you're fit to hold a position of public trust.
We had never heard of Mr. Ortiz prior to being assigned this story, and we'd just like to take this opportunity to thank Our Editrix for the chance to learn about a lunkhead whose idiotic behavior deserves to be made fun of and quickly forgotten, at least until he ends up hijacking an ice cream truck and crashing it through the doors of a federal building, leaving several bureaucrats overcome by sprinkles.
In his resignation speech at last night's City Council meeting, Ortiz insisted that he had been the victim of "character assassination" by the media, which very unfairly reported things he'd said and done. He said that the last straw was that his children were being "attacked," by which he presumably meant accurate reporting on his sons being sent home from school for not wearing masks, and bringing a bogus document claiming they were exempt from mask requirements based on "religious freedom." (We'll just note that the Orange County Register, at least, didn't include the boys' names, ages, or the name of the middle school they attend, only the district.)
Here's Ortiz in his operatic debut as Pagliacci:
"To put it simply," Ortiz said, "this job isn't working for me." It's unclear whether the lone person applauding as he stood to leave was a fan, or just glad to see him go.
From the start, Ortiz made a nuisance of himself by constantly making an issue of his refusal to wear a mask, as well as his stance opposing vaccinations. Just days after the election, well before his December swearing-in, Ortiz
tried to attend a [City Council] strategic planning meeting at the local library, but was barred from the building by the mayor because he refused to wear a mask. Ortiz's anti-mask stance was part of his campaign platform, so he called into the meeting from his car instead of going home and getting a mask.
Eventually, the City Council voted to continue holding meetings remotely because Ortiz continued to refuse to wear a mask for in-person meetings.
In a January incident, Ortiz got into a tiff with a local burger joint, TK Burgers, after he was refused service for not wearing a mask.
I hope Tito continues to post these reaction videos whenever he gets denied service or kicked out for not wearing a… https://t.co/tsMTleko0D— Borrachinha Depot (@Borrachinha Depot) 1610925575.0
So they won't let me order unless I have a mask to come in. First time all year I've actually been forced to wear a mask. But I'm not wearing a mask. TK Burger, you lose my business, you lose HB's business.
His pissy reaction, oddly, did not win Ortiz scads of adoring followers or inspire a boycott, but instead resulted in a surge of mask-wearing customers at TK Burgers. Ortiz eventually apologized on Facebook for his "bad decision," saying he understood how difficult things have been for small businesses, and that he "would never want to ruin that business," at least after trying to ruin that business and beclowning himself.
Oh, but that was just small (fried) potatoes compared to Ortiz's next imbroglio, in which the OC Register discovered he had inexplicably filed for unemployment compensation in February, although the story broke in late April.
Naming the city as his employer, he gave his first day of work as Dec. 7, 2020 – when he was sworn in after comfortably winning his seat in the November election. He stated that his last day of work was Feb. 9, 2021, although he still serves on the council.
On the portion of the unemployment application that asks for a "reason for separation," Ortiz listed, "Still working part-time or on-call – related to the coronavirus (COVID-19)."
NBC Los Angeles confirmed with Mayor Kim Carr that Ortiz had not been laid off:
He's been receiving the same amount of wages and hour. It's my understanding that city council members are not eligible for unemployment, particularly when they are receiving their full salary.
Oh yes, and then there's this tidbit from the OC Register story: Ortiz owns
two Huntington Beach businesses – Punishment Athletics clothing store and Punishment Training Center gym. He has a house in Huntington Harbour worth about $4 million.
Guess some people really are tempted into a life of idleness by those great big $300-per-week emergency unemployment benefits, then.
In its story on Ortiz's resignation, the Register dutifully notes that Ortiz has "denied that his unemployment claim was improper, saying the allegations were politically motivated."
At last night's City Council meeting — the first in months at which masks were no longer required — Ortiz complained that "From day one, when I was sworn in, and I was met with hostility and judgement," and that he'd been "the sole focus of character assassination each and every week with multiple news stories and leaked personal information, all of which were to slander and defame my name."
And then he went on to whine about the "attacks" on his family, and his fears for their safety, although he didn't actually provide any examples of their being endangered by anything other than his insistence that the virus is fake news. That threat, too many people have learned, is all too real.
In conclusion, as with that Florida gentleman named Pork Chop, we're glad to have learned this guy existed, and equally happy to be far, far away from him, the end.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.