A rash of vacancies is causing headaches for Orange County governments.
As Voice of OC reports, at least seven local officials vacated a board or city council seat in the past year. Some officials, like Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley, switched from city to county government. Others, like former Huntington Beach mayor pro tem Tito Ortiz, have left politics altogether.
Affected bodies include the Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Huntington Beach, Laguna Hills, La Habra, and Orange city councils. Numerous city managers and police chiefs have also been part of the shakeup. The Orange County Board of Education was facing a vacancy following the resignation of Tim Shaw. As of Dec. 21, he’s back on the board but gone from the La Habra City Council.
The vacancies and musical chairs have opened up debates that sometimes turn into all-out war. The Huntington Beach City Council’s decision to replace Ortiz with Rhonda Bolton was met with a recall effort against nearly the entire city council.
The drama over successors and appointments versus special elections comes at a time of immense challenges: homelessness and housing shortages, public safety concerns, and a pandemic now entering its second year.
Read more about the leadership vacuum impacting Orange County governments at Voice of OC.