Tito’s Credo pt 3: A Dive into the Deep State (and the Boating Hit-and-Run!)


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[This is the third installment in a series of articles about
the conspiracy theories Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz believes and promotes,
and how they will impact the citizens he was elected to represent.]

QAnon has become a circus tent for a broad range of fringe conspiracy theories, including Flat Earth Theory and the 9/11 Truth Movement, but one of its central tenets is the existence of a “Deep State” (famously called “The Swamp” by a certain twice-impeached former President we won’t mention.)

Fear of government corruption is completely understandable. Most of us can think of a few times a prominent elected official has committed some kind of fraud, become embroiled in an international scandal, or used their position of power for personal gain. QAnon takes this skepticism to an extreme: they believe a “shadow” government, which secretly owns and controls everything in the world, is conspiring to kidnap our children, kill them in satanic ritual, and drink their blood for adrenochrome.

No, I’m not making that up.

And yes, Tito Ortiz really believes that.

It doesn’t take a PhD in Bullshit Detection to figure out these people are full of it. But if you’ve ever worried that this fictional “Deep State” might be operating here in Huntington Beach, a city famous for its swamps, Tito’s got your back: 

“If there is Deep State in Huntington Beach, you’re gonna know about it,
because I’m gonna show you what they’re doing to this city.”
– (Soon-to-be-former) Mayor Pro Tem Jacob “Tito” Ortiz

As crazy as that sounds, he’s not necessarily wrong. “Draining the Swamp” is, at its core, about weeding out corrupt politicians, exposing shady bureaucratic dealings; and, well, there’s plenty of that to go around here in Orange County! However, though Tito promised to expose the corruption in our local government, he himself has already dipped his toe into the muddy waters of HB’s political “swamp.” 

At time of this writing, his Instagram story has remained mercifully barren for several days, so I used this brief recess to take a closer look at how Tito Ortiz rose to political power, and what he’s done with that power so far. 

Click for glorious larger view! Oh, UPDATE – HB’s libs weren’t scared by Maga-Ween, just mildly annoyed at the idiot Maga-Weeners blocking traffic on PCH.

Though Ortiz was initially viewed as a fringe candidate running a stunt campaign, the OC GOP establishment quickly embraced him as one of their own, promoting him as the “face of the Republican Party.” He spent last summer and fall on the pier protest circuit with Dana Rohrabacher (Russia’s favorite congressman) and Morton Irvine Smith (yes, Irvine as in ‘City of Irvine’), and was endorsed by many of the OC GOP’s swamp monsters, including former HB Mayor (and felon) Dave Garofalo, Ed Laird (a Garofalo accomplice), and former assemblyman (and election tamperer) Scott Baugh. 

Notable campaign donors The Lincoln Club, Jim Silva for Senate 2022 (A.K.A. the Everlasting Gobstopper of campaign committees), Dr. Jeff Barke and his magic COVID-preventing gun, and a mysterious “Mk. Gates Huntington Beach, LLC,” which appears to be our City Attorney Michael E. Gates operating under a fake business name.

And while we’re on the subject of Tito’s campaign, which is his greatest (and only) political accomplishment to date, there are a couple of important things I’d like to note. The first is that he and his supporters frequently called his campaign a “grassroots” effort, which isn’t exactly the truth. In fact, the other successful first-time candidate in the race, Natalie Moser, more neatly fits that definition than Tito Ortiz. I compared their finances, and you can check my work here.

As you see, Moser had fewer donors than Ortiz, and received less money – but the numbers make it clear that she concentrated her efforts on mobilizing voters with less disposable income, within Huntington Beach city limits, rather than courting maximum contributions from wealthy, non-resident donors. That she was successful in her first election, with significantly less fame and money, is a testament to her hard work and ability to reach her constituents.

The real grassroots candidate.

The second is that around 14% of Ortiz’s donors work in real estate – compared compared to 9% of Moser’s donors – but some of his most ardent supporters seemed to think he would vote to stop new building projects in Huntington Beach. Imagine their surprise when he voted yes on rezoning the Magnolia Tank Farm. Said one confused resident in a forum comment, “I’m still trying to figure out his vote… even Erik [Peterson] is not sure why.” 

Ortiz has always been a bit of a ‘horse in a hospital,’ so it’s hard to say if he’s loyal to the real estate industry because of their support for his campaign, or if he was convinced by Shopoff’s powerpoint presentation, or if he just heard a bunch of words that sounded good and immediately slammed the ‘YES’ button on his electronic voting system. 

One decision that wasn’t at all surprising was Tito’s support of Sheriff Don Barnes’ appeal. Barnes has supported Ortiz’s political endeavors from the very beginning, even going so far as to connect Ortiz with his campaign treasurer, Kelly Lawler (who was recently fined for campaign finance violations). 

But recommending Lawler isn’t the only favor Sheriff Barnes has done for Mayor Pro Tem Ortiz. If you’ve been following Tito’s political career, it’s likely you heard the allegations of a hit-and-run boating accident after the Huntington Harbour Boat Parade in December 2020. We haven’t heard anything from Ortiz himself about the matter, but it turns out those allegations are 100% true. And the agency in charge of investigating boating accidents in Orange County is… drumroll, please… the Orange County Sheriff’s Department! 

Barnes

Ortiz was cruising the harbor in his boat when he nearly collided with another boat, and ended up hitting someone’s dock. A witness of the accident tried to get him to stop by calling out to him over a loudspeaker, but according to the OCSD report, “The driver of the vessel never indicated or acknowledged hearing” them. 

When asked, Tito said he left the scene because he feared the hull may have been punctured, and blamed the accident on “traffic congestion in the area from other vessels in addition to a heavy incoming tide.” The officer filing the report checked the “Impairment Unknown” box– and the truth is, we don’t know– but there is video of Ortiz, on a different occasion, drinking while driving his boat, while his kids sit on the bow sans life jackets. 

According to the California Division of Boating and Waterways, boaters must report any accident that involves over $500 in property damage within 10 days, but I’m not certain Tito had any intention of reporting the accident, even if it was required. The OCSD officer noted that Tito was completely at fault for the accident, but his report contains no estimate of repair costs, and he recommended no further action “based on the merit of Ortiz’s statements.” 

Tito cast his vote in favor of Barnes’ amicus brief less than a week after the OCSD report was filed.

Oh, by the way, I tried to do a little research on the officer whose name was on the report, and after a little digging I found what appears to be his Facebook account – his Facebook profile name is just his name, spelled backwards! Check out his cover photo, to the left, and tell me who you think he voted for.)

Unlike Tito Ortiz, I’m not trying to sell you a conspiracy theory. I fully acknowledge that every public figure implicated here has plausible deniability, that campaign finance corruption matters a lot less in a race where the maximum contribution is $600, and that we don’t– and may never– know the whole story of Tito’s harbor hit-and-run, or his relationship with the OCSD.

But in the real world, corruption doesn’t look like a cabal of child-blood-drinking elites; it looks like befriending politicians convicted of crimes related to their office, voting against your supporters’ ideals while accepting money from their adversaries, and walking free after drunkenly crashing your boat into your neighbor’s dock.

Previously in this series:
And Our Tito Watch Begins…
Tito Tries a Council Meeting!
Tito and Facial Coverings: A Dark Surf City Comedy
#SaveOurChildren… and How it Doesn’t.
Champion of the Oppressed: Unmasked Tito Thrown out of Meeting.
Tito’s World 2: The HB Mayor Pro-Tem’s Plan to Kill Your Grandma.
Tito’s TK-Burger-Gate
Tito to Lose “Pro-Tem” Title? We Answer his Distraught Fans’ Complaints.

 


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