Former Mixed Martial Arts fighter Tito Ortiz stunned the southern California political establishment by garnering the largest number of votes of any candidate for city council in Huntington Beach last November. A long-time Donald Trump supporter, his politics was a mix of Trump-style goading and open support for conspiracies, including QAnon. He refused to wear a mask and called COVID-19 a “political scam” and form of “population control by the left.”
On Tuesday he again surprised the beachside town by abruptly resigning from the council, claiming his decision was prompted by “character assassination” by the media and leaks from City Hall. “This job isn’t working for me,” he said during the council’s first in-person meeting of the year. His resignation is effective immediately.
“From day one, when I was sworn in, I was met with hostility and judgement,” Ortiz said in his resignation statement, alleging that he has been “the sole focus of character assassination each and every week with multiple news stories (containing) personal information all to slander and defame my name.”
Ortiz is somewhat of a local celebrity, but his tenure was rocky from the start. Some residents and officials at City Hall expressed frustration over his refusal to wear a mask at city events and criticized his vocal stand against vaccinations.
Then in February, Ortiz filed an unemployment claim against the city with the California Employment Development Department – despite the fact he continued to earn his stipend and expense allowance as a council member. The unemployment filing became public in April.