Huntington Beach Recall Signatures Fall Short for 2 Councilmembers, More Confident for Others

By Drew Van Voorhis
Drew Van Voorhis
Drew Van Voorhis
Drew Van Voorhis is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. He has been a journalist for six years, during which time he has broken several viral national news stories and has been interviewed for his work on both radio and internet shows.
February 7, 2022Updated: February 7, 2022

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.—The effort to recall two Huntington Beach elected officials failed to get the required number of signatures by a Feb. 7 deadline, according to recall organizers.

The recall effort by a 20 -member group known as Save Surf City had targeted Barbara Delgleize, who is now the city’s mayor, and Councilwoman Natalie Moser.

Organizers needed to submit to the Orange County Registrar about 13,000 valid signatures—representing 10 percent of current Huntington Beach voters—to force the issue on an upcoming ballot.

Organizers did not reveal how many they received.

Despite missing the mark, organizers said they feel their effort has “awakened” locals to issues they fear will forever change their beach city.

“We feel that undertaking the recall was a necessary response to some of the radical steps that the council had taken, they forced our hands,” Save Surf City organizer Russ Neal told The Epoch Times. “This is really not the end of anything but the beginning of a movement to save Surf City from Sacramento’s agenda.”

In its petition to recall, Safe Surf City cited issues such as the council’s stance on density housing, what they say is a lack of transparency, the financing of a homeless shelter, and “massive government expansion.”

Organizers additionally cited the council’s decision to not hold a special election after Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz, a Republican, resigned in 2021 as another reason for their recall.

The council voted to appoint lawyer and civil rights activist Rhonda Bolton to the seat instead.

“When [Ortiz] resigned, putting in somebody who was [politically] opposite to him … and who had never” been elected before, Neal said, “gave [the council] the ability to move forward quite rapidly with an agenda that could upset the city for a long time. So we had to act immediately.”

An initial recall for all five who make up the council was initiated in August.

However, Save Surf City had to restart the recall process for councilmembers Kim Carr, Dan Kalmick, and Mike Posey after missing a deadline to file paperwork.

They now have until Feb. 23 to submit the same amount of signatures, which would then need to be verified by the registrar.

If successful, the issue would be decided by voters during a special election this summer.

“We ran out of time for [Delgleize and Moser],” Neal said, “but we are pretty encouraged that we’ll still be able to make it for the other three [councilmembers].”

Delgleize and Moser were not immediately available for comment.