HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — Huntington Beach City Councilman Tito Ortiz will keep his role as mayor pro tem, for now.
After a six-hour meeting with plenty of back and forth from the public and the council, attacking and supporting the newly elected and controversial city councilman, the city council decided to keep Ortiz on as the mayor's right-hand man.
The council decided to table the no-confidence vote Ortiz faced Monday night and gave him a second chance to remain mayor pro tem.
Mayor Kim Carr, one of the authors of the agenda item seeking to remove Ortiz as mayor pro tem, said the no-confidence vote could be brought up with Ortiz again in the future.
"I need us to work together," Carr said to Ortiz during the video meeting. "That is what I was hoping for... I believe that you want to do a good job. I've always believed that. I think your approach is off. I think you use bad judgment. I think you could get better."
Councilman Mike Foley said it is worth revisiting the issue if Ortiz doesn't hold up to his obligations as a political representative of Huntington Beach.
"It's time to measure Mr. Ortiz and hold him accountable if he really wants to do this," Foley said. "And if he doesn't, we'll vote, and we'll move on, and he's had fair warning."
Much like he did when he was a professional fighter for the UFC in the octagon, Ortiz fought for his [political] life during the hour or so no-confidence debate. Ortiz defended his anti-mask stance, his association with former President Donald Trump, and his love for the city that he grew up in.
"I stand here before every one of my constituents and all six of you. Give me a chance to prove myself," Ortiz said.
He added he had been allegedly "attacked nonstop" on social media and by media outlets.
"Do you want to know why I've been on a defensive mode? Because you guys have nonstop attacked me," Ortiz said. "I have sat there, and it's been embarrassing what I've been able to experience."
Ortiz won a seat on the city council after being the top vote-getter in the November election.
But since joining the council, Ortiz has been criticized by his colleagues and the community for his antics. He was booted from an in-person city council meeting for not wearing a mask and shared what happened to his social media. He criticized a local business on social media for not taking his order after refusing him service for not wearing a mask.
Ortiz, at times, defended his actions to his colleagues but owned up to his mistakes and apologized.
“I hope you guys don’t make this decision," Ortiz said during the debate. "I’ve made mistakes in my life. I take full, complete responsibilities for these things. I’m willing to work hard."