Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz will step down from his elected role, he said June 1 during the city council’s first in-person meeting of the year.
“I ran for this position with hopes to better my community, work with my constituents and give them a voice, making our beautiful city safe and clean, and to ensure a bright future for my children,” Ortiz said when announcing his resignation. “I was under a notion that I was in a bipartisan position and … to put it frankly, that’s not the case.
“This job isn’t working for me.”
Explaining the reasoning behind his resignation, Ortiz said that from the day he was sworn into the city council last Dec. 7, he was met with hostility and judgment, including from a number of negative news articles.
“Being a public figure, nothing is new,” he said. “However, to be so focused on character assassination each and every week, with multiple news stories [that] leak personal information, all of which were in hopes to slander and defame my name.”
Ortiz said during the council meeting that a large part of his decision was based on the safety of his family, though he didn’t mention what specifically put them in danger.
“As of recent, the attacks against me have involved my family,” Ortiz said. “I’ve tried as hard as I possibly could, but when my children’s safety becomes a matter, I’m a father and I will protect my children. Once again, I did as best as I possibly could do and hope I didn’t let anybody down.”
Ortiz’s family made headlines in mid-May when his two sons were sent home from an Ocean View School District middle school for not wearing masks, citing a religious exemption that school administrators said didn’t exist.
During his term as mayor pro tem, Ortiz criticized mandated mask-wearing, arguing that residents should be able to exercise personal responsibility when deciding whether to wear a mask.
The former UFC champion ran on a “Make Huntington Beach Great Again” message during his 2020 campaign and won with 42,000 votes, a record number of ballots for a Huntington Beach City Council candidate.