Tito Ortiz abruptly resigned from the Huntington Beach City Council Tuesday evening after being the center of a series of controversies since first becoming elected to the council last November.
“To put it simply, this job isn’t working for me,” Ortiz is heard saying in a video posted on Twitter.
In the video, Ortiz cited his family and children’s safety as one of the deciding factors as well as being targeted in the press.
“From day one, I was sworn in and I was met with hostility and judgment. Being a public figure nothing is new, however, to be the sole focus of character assassination each and every week, with multiple news stories, and leaked personal information, all of which were in hopes to slander and defame my name. I thought it was up to this job,” he said.
In a phone interview Tuesday night during the meeting recess, City Manager Oliver Chi confirmed that Ortiz resigned from his position.
When asked how Ortiz’ vacant council seat will be filled, Chi said: “We’re trying to get that all figured out. We’ll have more, I think, to share tomorrow.”
According to a last-minute agenda, council members will reconvene in a special meeting tomorrow to appoint a new mayor pro tem — a largely ceremonial role Ortiz held — for the city.
The meeting can be attended in person in a limited capacity or online through the city website.
Ortiz sat on the dais for a little over six months.
The issue again popped up most recently in Costa Mesa, where City Council members appointed Mayor John Stephens earlier this year.
Ortiz nearly had his mayor pro tem position stripped from him in February by his colleagues on the dais for refusing to wear a mask and follow other coronavirus protocols.
At the end of Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Kim Carr and Councilwoman Natalie Moser wished Ortiz and his family well.
“We didn’t always see eye to eye on things but I always respected him,” Carr said. “All of us have seen the intense vitriol that we get here on city council and it’s overwhelming and it’s scary sometimes and one only has to look at what’s happening with the Orange County Board of Supervisors to know that sometimes people just take things a little too far.”
He’s come under criticism from some Huntington Beach residents during public comment, some who say he has close ties to people they considered racist.
More recently, he was criticized for deleting comments on his social media accounts and blocking people.
Ortiz has also been turning some heads with some of his social media posts on masks and vaccines.
At the same time, over 42,000 people voted for the UFC hall of famer in November, electing Ortiz with not only the most votes in the council race, but the most votes in Surf City history as well.
Many people defended Ortiz when his council colleagues almost removed the mayor pro tem title from him.
The resignation comes one month after an article by the Orange County Register that found Ortiz filed for unemployment while receiving checks from the city.
“I did as best as I possibly could do and I hope I didn’t let anybody down,” he said in the video posted on Twitter.
Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him @firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.