Epting and son’s book signing in HB this afternoon … but What IS going on with Epting?


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Politics and Surf City monkeyshines aside, I am looking forward to the book signing and discussion tomorrow afternoon in the Bella Terra Barnes and Noble, HB, 2pm today (Sunday June 8,) for two new books by two local authors:  Huntington Beach Chronicles: the Heart of Surf City by popular journalist Chris Epting, and The New Deal in Orange County – the first book by his son Charles Epting.  I’m especially looking forward to the New Deal book, which sounds real interesting.

But what’s gotten into Chris Epting lately?  He seems to be going through some changes.  Already a popular journalist, author, and radio host, specializing in local history and popular music, he got the bug for political activism last year when he practically led the charge against the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s attempt to remove all beach fire pits from several counties just to make a few Newport Beach zillionaires happy.

But what was the lesson he took away from that struggle?  Not so much that the rich manipulate our government and almost always get their way, as that government’s attempts to protect our environment are always heavy-handed, oppressive, based on faulty science, and just intended to increase the government’s power and enrich egghead consultants.

WRONG LESSON.  Now Chris has declared war on the popular council-members (and my friends) who were elected decisively on the platform they are following – Boardman, Shaw, Hardy, Katapodis – a platform of protecting our cherished coast from pollution by plastic bags, styrofoam, development of sensitive areas, and the perennial threat Poseidon.  In fact he’s developed a particular hard-on for my good friend (the sometimes abrasive but working on that) Joe Shaw.  I think I won’t get too far into that, the Epting jihad against Joe deserves its own story, as does the list of other great things this majority has done for the city, and I’m still looking forward to the event tomorrow.  But I just want to say a few things right away:

  • No, we are not spending TWO MILLION DOLLARS ON A GLOBAL WARMING CONSULTANT.  We are required to prepare a General Plan, our first since 1996.  We chose PMC out of four companies that bid;  they were not the most expensive (it’s unclear if they were #2 or 3 in expense – staff said “third cheapest.”)  Staff did consider them by far the most qualified;  one selling point was their expertise in climate change issues and “coastal resiliency” which are obvious important issues for a beach town; some of the green aspects are required under AB 32;  and still that is only a small portion of the issues they’ll be dealing with.   And $2 million is within the ballpark for a General Plan to last 20 years for a city our size.
  • No, Joe did not for some nefarious or petty reason duck out of voting to repeal our unconstitutional Rackauckas-inspired sex offenders-in-parks law.  He had already voted to repeal in the previous 5-2 vote;  he had good reason to think that night’s vote would be unanimous as it was, now that the other two had exhausted their grandstanding;  it had been a long meeting, other members were bloviating, and he REALLY DID have to go to the bathroom.  Case closed, Chris.
  • And no, neither Joe nor anyone else on City Council had anything to do with reporting the popular Johnny’s Saloon Support-Our-Veterans sign as unpermitted last December.  Everyone on Council and all the rest of us are glad that that issue is now dealt with, and the sign is up for good.

I know that both Chris and Joe love Huntington Beach, its culture and natural beauty.   But Chris should avoid getting used by the political forces who’d like to see a rollback to the days when Surf City was run by out-of-town developers and corporations like Poseidon pulling the strings of corrupt councilmen.  That’s all I’ll say for now.  I’m looking forward to getting a copy of his son’s new book, described by Barnes and Noble thusly:

Unpredictably harsh elements wreaked havoc in Orange County during the Great Depression. The 1933 Long Beach earthquake claimed 115 lives, shattering lands eastward across the Los Angeles County line into the Orange County cities. Then 60 people perished in the devastating 1938 Santa Ana River flood, which washed out roads and buildings and much of the county’s namesake citrus industry.

Orange County’s 130,000 people received a greater density of federal public aid than LA County’s 2.2 million and San Diego County’s 210,000. Join Charles Epting on this tour of the buildings, bridges, harbors, trails, libraries, highways and other infrastructure gains—many still in use—that were revitalized by the Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps and other agencies of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal.


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County. Performs regularly with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem, and at regular concerts at the Huntington Beach Central Library.