Author Archives: christianepting

Opinion: Huntington Beach City Council needs to hold Wintersburg Task Force Chairperson Mary Urashima accountable for ethics violations



In Huntington Beach, all city or elected officials, employees and members of boards, commissions, committees and task forces are required to take the following pledge:


The red arrows I have added indicate the parts of the pledge that I believe Wintersburg Task Force Chair Mary Urashima violated by apparently targeting work relationships of mine via an attack she made on Twitter.

Some background: For a number of years, I (along with many others in the community) have grown suspicious of Urashima’s actions as task force chair. She stopped calling meetings more than one and a half years ago, she blocks and bans many community members from even engaging with the Wintersburg Facebook page and she will occasionally attack members of the community for daring to question or criticize her over her tactics in attempting to “acquire” a privately owned piece of property (the former Furuta family farm located at Warner and Nichols, purchased from the family by Republic Services). Many people, myself included, have questioned why the city ever created a task force to help negotiate/navigate a private land matter, and we have stated as such.

In the last week or so, the city appears to have re-evaluated its relationship with Urashima and the project because the task force has all but disappeared from the official city web site, and a source within city hall has confirmed to me that the task force has in fact been dissolved.

But that does not absolve Urashima of the egregious attack made upon myself and my livelihood in early March of this year, while she was still very much the Chair of the Wintersburg Task Force. Writing under her Twitter account “Surf City Writer” (which I am blocked from even seeing), Urashima posted the following, tagging the REELZ TV channel which air a TV show I co-host and executive produce, “It Happened Here” –


For  the record, I have NEVER “incited disruption” at one of Urashima’s (or anyone’s) events in my life. That is an absolute lie. I have also not “targeted a Japanese American historic preservation project for five years with online harassment.” That is absurd. I have simply called out the behavior of Urashima, who in this very tweet of hers validates essentially what I and many others have accused her of: lying, attacking and worst of all, using race as a leverage to support her false claims.  What’s most telling is the “evidence” that Urashima includes in her attack to support her wild claims. It is a statement of mine simply commenting on the fact that she has not had a task force meeting in more than one and a half years. What does it say about a person that uses something so innocuous to support her lies, all while targeting a company I do business with? Despite my numerous disagreements with Urashima, I would never even think of contacting established business relationships of hers to drag them into this mess. I don’t even know what she does for a living, nor is it any of my business. Yet for some reason she felt comfortable doing this. And she didn’t stop there.


I reached out to Urashima privately to ask her to explain why she did this, and was ignored.

The First Amendment is, without doubt, one of our most cherished institutions. But even the First Amendment has limits, and Urashima’s false statements about me cross the line. This is especially true with respect to the statements intended to interfere with my business relationships with Reelz, and others. Merely because she disagrees with me on political matters, she has set a course intended to completely disrupt my livelihood by preventing me from making a living. The First Amendment does not protect this conduct.

By willfully and deliberately posting false information about me, and directly contacting a company that I am involved with, I think her intent was clear. I believe that the Respondeat Superior legal doctrine can be invoked in this situation. This doctrine holds an employer or principal is legally responsible for the wrongful acts of an employee or agent, if such acts occur within the scope of the employment or agency. And I think that holds up here. All that said, these are legal matters that will be left to the experts to sort out and make decisions against.

For now however, I think it is crystal clear that Urashima violated all of the points highlighted above and even if the task force is now disbanded, I still think the city has an obligation to admonish Urashima for her willful and destructive actions. And example needs to be set so that all future representatives understand how serious the code of conduct pledge is. She was a city representative when these actions occurred, and I am calling on city council to take a stand against this behavior.

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City of Huntington Beach quietly erases all mentions of the Wintersburg Task Force


In the last several days, all mentions of the controversial “Historic Wintersburg Task Force” have been removed from the official Huntington Beach city web page. As task force Chair Mary Urashima notes on the official Wintersburg Wikipedia page, “In July 2012, the Huntington Beach City Council created the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force.” Recently, many questions have been raised regarding the task force, primarily, why they had not held a meeting in more than a year and a half. I myself have posed the a number of times on social media but never received a clear or coherent reason as to why the meetings had ceased. Many in the community are becoming divided over the proposed purpose of the task force, in effect, to “acquire” a piece of public property. Some see the project as an unfair, calculated land grab vs. a legitimate historic preservation project. Urashima herself has raised the ire of some in the community by blocking many community members from being able to engage on the Historic Wintersburg Facebook page, creating an impression at least that the project lacks openness and transparency.

In a letter obtained through the city, former Huntington Beach councilman Devin Dwyer wrote the current council a blistering letter outlining with a variety of concerns regarding the task force in general and Urashima specifically, whom he accuses of playing the race card.  Some excerpts from his letter:

” I was on Council when Mary Urashima first brought to our meeting her idea to save the Wintersburg Buildings. She spoke of the history of the building at what she felt it represented. To no shock to anyone I was not supportive of the idea since she was not the owner of the property nor did she represent the current property owner. I think you all know I am a champion of individual property rights. What was shocking was after the meeting Mrs. Urashima came up to me and told me that my not supporting this project could be seen as being a racist.”

“Mrs. Urashima worked out a deal with Rainbow to withhold doing anything with the property for a period of 2 years. In that time she promised that she would fundraise to have the buildings moved to another site. She also promised that she would have this done at no cost to the City. Not only did she not come through with her promise to move the buildings but she conspired on the side to have the State declare it a Historical Monument without the Property Owners knowledge.

I see this as an ethical breach of the deal she made with Rainbow and her intent as vocalized at the City Council Meeting. Couple this with the fact that the Original Japanese family that sold the property for fare value has not publicly come forward and explained why now? Why has their feeling changed after they were paid millions to sell the property? Why have they not used some of the money that they were paid to help save the building? Why did they allow the building to fall in such disrepair if it meant so much?

In the mean time you have an Owner that has continued to pay property tax on an asset that they have not been able to use. They paid a large amount of money and have seen no return just expenses. Their company name has been disparaged instead of receiving accolades for putting up with this trampling of their right to own property and do with it what is permitted by our City Code.

It’s time! It’s time to disband any City sponsored help in keeping this property owner from doing what he/she has the legal right to do. It’s time to publicly state that the City was wrong in allowing this fiasco to continue as long as it has. It’s time to dissolve any relationship the City has with Mary Urashima and her unethical leveraging of anyone brave enough to disagree with her.”

And then several days later, all traces of the task force disappeared from the city web site. A source at city hall that requested anonymity told me, “The task force is no more. there may or may not be an official announcement but all mentions of it have been erased and it is not coming back. This should have happened a long time ago.”

Updates as they occur.

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Memories of Main St: rare images document the razing of old Huntington Beach



A couple of years ago, longtime HB resident Diane Valoff shared her rare images with me for this piece I wrote about the demolition of the historic Carnegie Library.  At a recent book event I did, Diane told me she had some more interesting, rare local images. They are photos she took wandering one summer day almost 30 years ago, in 1989. Main Street was getting gutted and she decided to document part of it. We met at the Sugar Shack for breakfast to look at the images and Diane described that day she saw the many building coming down. “The Alpha-Beta market, a hardware store, even a rock shop – Main St. used to be designed for locals. It was small and quaint, similar to Seal Beach today. Today there are a lot more bars. I think that has changed the environment down here a lot. But there are still some great local businesses down here and we need to support them.”


In a way,  her images are a look at the last gasp of a small town. The transformation of Main Street remains one of the most controversial issues in city history. Many people miss how it used to be. Others seem to believe that the myth of Main Street is somewhat romanticized and that it needed cleaning up. Whatever you think, it’s a very different place today and images like this are vital because they help us document the changes that have occurred here. They give us a reference  point and something to compare things to. Thank you Diane, for once again providing such interesting images. We are thankful for your sharing your peeks at the past; back when taking pictures required a lot more effort than it does today.

Who remembers these places? Who else has old photos? Who misses the old Huntington Beach?













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In new interview, Clayton-Tarvin mysteriously changes critical detail about her on-campus gunman tale

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Embattled Ocean View School District Gina Clayton-Tarvin is under new fire after a new interview with her was published on The Liberal OC. In the piece, she changes a critical detail from her breathless (and apparently false) claims about an active shooting situation where she once taught school. She is no longer claiming there was a gunman on campus – but rather the “THREAT” of a gunman. At left is the partial text of her speech made just five days after the brutal slaughter of 17 people at a school near Parkland. Florida. At right is the text from the recent interview with The Liberal OC.

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In the weeks since Clayton Tarvin’s dramatic claims about the on-campus gunman, she has gone on to claim that there were “countless” episodes of this sort at the Hawaiian Gardens school where she taught in the mi-1990s. The trouble is, several citizens have investigated the claims with police, school and local media outlets – not a shred factual backup has been discovered.

As writer Dan Chmielewski points out in his Liberal OC piece:

“I wanted to know more about the “multiple occurrences” at Fedde Junior High and I can’t find anything online. I consulted a family friend who was retired from a senior position at LAPD, and he said he can’t remember anything specific but wouldn’t rule out activity from LASD due to gang activity in that area; Hawaiian Gardens no longer has a police department and documenting these claims is difficult.

…but considering the details reported about the school lockdown in Irvine, I wanted more details on what happened in Hawaiian Gardens and I just can’t find it. If someone can, please send me links… I just wish I could find more details on these multiple events. Newspapers catalogue these sort of stories.”

It seems increasingly clear that Clayton-Tarvin’s stories were manufactured to simply allow her to promote her anti-gun agenda in the wake of the Florida tragedy. Until she can prove otherwise, with facts that support her tales, it seems certain the questions about her ethics, honesty and basic decency will continue to dog her – as they should.


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“I have huddled on the ground holding my breath in silence, lights out, with my heart pounding with 35 scared kids because there was a gunman on campus. This is real. It has happened to me.” Did Gina Clayton-Tarvin concoct an event to use the Parkland shootings for her political gain? She refuses to cite details about the event – which now does not appear to have happened.

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It may be her most egregious lie yet – actually making an event up out of thin air to try and use the horrific Parkland massacre to her political advantage.

A cross post today from HBSledghammer, which has done the original reporting on this deeply disturbing and developing story.


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Hidden History of Huntington Beach – the Red Car tracks


I used to host a PBS-TV series called “Forgotten OC” where I’d track down little known historic places in the county. This spring I have a new show starting on the Reelz network called “It Happened Here” which traces places all over the country, but for fun I thought I’d document some hidden history of Huntington Beach – here’s the first place – more to follow soon.

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We interrupt this blog for an important message


Yesterday an essay was shared privately with me. It was written by a Huntington Beach woman, Yvonne Mauro, whom I know. She had written the piece as a kind of cathartic exercise with no set plan to publish it. I found the piece interesting enough that I reached out to Ms. Mauro to ask if i could publish the piece here. She agreed. I’m not going to frame it too much except to say that I think it is honest, direct and relevant, and I’m thankful she is allowing me to share it with you. I hope you will, in turn, share it with others.

Take it away, Yvonne


As resident of Huntington Beach and an administrator of the Huntington Beach Community Forum (HBCF), I’d like to reach out to everyone without the restrictions of Facebook.

Something is wrong

 I had an experience this weekend with a Huntington Beach public official I found profoundly disturbing.   Our national political climate may be out of control but I had hoped our local government would still be made up of people who respect their positions and the people of this city.  In most cases I have found this to be true, however, my interaction with a particular public official this weekend certainly was an eye opener.  

In order to eliminate any perception that this is just a hit piece the name of the official has been omitted.   It’s not about the official as much as the attempted abuse of power I experienced.

Some background

 I’ve been an administrator on HBCF for almost 4 years. I and the other admins are used to people disagreeing with decisions we make on the forum. I am used to being called names, seeing my interactions with disgruntled members relived on other forums (completely inaccurately most of the time), etc.  I’m used to being accused of all kinds of bias….it comes with the territory.  I signed up for it and I deal with it.  Enforcing rules is not a popular position but one I try very hard to execute fairly, no matter who you are.  However, being threatened by a public official to stifle citizens remarks about them is concerning to me. For those not familiar with HBCF …we are a Huntington Beach civic topic forum, which of course, includes a great deal of local politics.   Since 2014 just about every HB elected official current /past/man/woman has faced scrutiny and the wrath of residents of HB.  Accusations ranging from money laundering/ use of their positions for personal gain/collusion with unions/ inappropriate relationships with fellow City Council members all played out on HBCF.  Only one of those people ever contacted me or any other admin and demanded any comment be removed. 
An elected official demanding special rules

This particular official has periodically complained to the admins at HBCF for three years about various comments and/or posts questioning the actions/ethics and or behavior of this public official.  The demands are never limited to the acceptance of our decision but always turn into a tirade. I considered these communications little more than trivial childish behavior, up until last Saturday night at which time I was threated with legal action.  The next threat was to “take action” which was in the form of a post on the forum listing a series of complaints about anyone who questioned this officials ethical behavior. The post was aimed at creating chaos and mayhem towards the forum and it’s admins.  We were warned.

False claims and legal threats

The claim was I had been approached in a “polite and quiet” manner requesting that a comment of libel and defamation be removed.  And that I had ignored the request. This is the original message to me… :  “I’m bringing this to your attention. I’m being libeled and defamed on HBCF, I’m informing you of this so if legal action is taken, I have record that I informed you”. Now I don’t know about anyone else, but that is not a “polite and quiet” approach, it’s a threat.   Not to mention the comment in question reflected on accusation made by a grandfather at a “public meeting” unrelated to HBCF. It involved her personally but she IS a public official so questioning those activities is perfectly acceptable . Rather than subject myself to yet another two-hour combat with this public official, I chose to address the issue directly with the poster of the comment., informing him he could not make a blanket statement and needed to qualify it with terms indicating the information was alleged. Which he complied with.

Suddenly, a complaint about a single comment had the elected official ranting about racism/sexual harassment/accusations of complicity and fostering of libelous comments. All this without any grounds whatsoever, barring my refusal to be threatened into submission that is. The public official’s post, in fact, was in regard to an entirely different subject than the purported libelous comment.  Which is where this really got interesting and very concerning for me.

Your rights as a citizen

I watched as this official maligned a citizen for making CPRA (California Public Record Act) requests – which is EVERY citizen’s right to request. The official intentionally misinformed the public as to their rights. The average person who doesn’t work for the government or has never had a need to request this information can easily be lead to believe its an invasion of privacy. It absolutely is not.

Anyone has a right to ASK for any record they want of a government employee.  It is not harassment and it is not invasion of privacy – it is YOUR right.   As far as I am aware there is no limit to the amount of requests that can be made, however, to hear this official rant about the amount of CPRA requests you would think there was.  When you go to work for the Government you are informed of the CPRA and you have a choice. if you don’t want people getting information about you don’t take a job with the government.  Or maybe don’t do anything you want to hide? 

We need to be able to trust our elected officials. And we deserve honesty and transparency.

Citizens should be able to trust their public officials especially at a city level, after all, these are neighbors we elect.  These officials should be helping citizens navigate through a system that at times can be overwhelming for the average person, not telling them they have no right.  I am appalled that a public official would prey on the good people of our city in order to discredit another person for exercising their constitutional rights….no matter how inconvenient it may be… or does it go deeper than convenience? What information could those records hold that would cause such outrage by this official for a perfectly legal request? 

In our case we are fortunate to be the home of an author who takes no prisoners when he gets his sights set on potential acts of corrupt or unethical behavior by a city official.   Chris Epting, who has written 30 books, countless articles for outlets ranging from the Los Angeles times to the Huffington Post, is an expert on artists, musicians, history and… political misdeeds. You get the point. The guy is accomplished with research and writing. Currently it seems he is following up some leads on potentially damaging information about this public official.   He is relentless and that seems to offend some of the very people he is trying to protect, and this public official is hot to demonize anyone who is willing to hear him out.  Why?  

I did absolutely nothing except refuse to succumb to this official’s threats. From that point on, I watched as a city official blatantly lied about me, and essentially issued a call to arms for citizens of the city to rise up against me and the forum itself.   This can’t be allowed. I simply want people to know, you have rights and before you believe the self- serving rants of any public official telling you that you don’t, check the Constitution.




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Gina Clayton-Tarvin’s social media meltdowns continue…

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Embattled Ocean View School Board trustee Gina Clayton-Tarvin’s reckless and emotional social media rants reached a new low this evening when she accused me of – in her own words – “sexual harassment.” Why? Because I posted a comment critical of her using public school property to help organize a political debate (including a candidate she has publicly endorsed). To me it seems rife with conflicts of interest – so I said so:

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In response, Tarvin has gone on yet another emotional, dishonest and quite disturbing social media rant:

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“Sexual harassment and worse.” Clearly she either lying or in need perhaps of some medical help. This is just too far beyond the pale. She is also apparently making legal threats behind the scenes against those that criticize her: 

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On her thread, other citizens are taking Tarvin to task – clearly not what she anticipated:

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And then – GULP – this – she “violated parental rights?” The MAYOR got involved? \

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Tarvin’s meltdowns are becoming both more frequent and more dishonest. Why many in Huntington Beach believe that for the sake of the district, herself and her family – SHE NEEDS TO STEP DOWN NOW.



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Citizen files formal cease and desist complaint against Clayton-Tarvin’s “harassment activities, intimidation, defamation” of her character

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Surf City Chronicles today became aware of a registered letter sent by  Annette R. Chilvers of Huntington Beach to the Ocean View School District. Apparently it is yet another salvo in reaction to district trustee Gina Clayton Tarvin’s misleading and at times flat-out untrue statements made on social media about Ms. Chilvers (the trustee has made numerous other similar dishonest statements about myself and others in recent weeks – I myself also filed a formal complaint against Clayton-Tarvin for the same reason).

Chilvers’ letter stems from these statements mad win mid-December by Clayton-Tarvin:






And here is the letter she sent:


Dear OVSD School Board C/F Dr. Carol Hansen,

This letter is in regards to your following activities:

Dr. Hansen and all the OVSD Board members, per my conversation with Dr. Carol Hansen December 18, 2017 I am informing any and all OVSD School Board members, in particular Ms. Gina Clayton Tarvin to cease and desist harassment activities, intimidation, defamation of my character.  Specifically uploading and posting a video to a third party via the Internet which she informs twenty thousand people of false statements.  Ms. Tarvin, acting OVSD school board president took it upon herself to speak on my behalf with false statements. Ms. Tarvin’s statement my sole intention of attending the College View Forum was to stir up trouble and specifically to announce my intent to have Ms. Tarvin recalled due to construction of a fence; lastly, coercion with another OVSD Board member on a recall notice.  Ms. Tarvin’s statements are knowingly false; I was listed as a volunteer by the OVSD Board to distribute fliers for the November College View Forum meeting.  November 10th I received a voicemail from College View principal Ms. Katherine Smith stating she was instructed by OVSD to request my assistance with distribution of fliers for this meeting.  That evening  (5:00p.m.) a stack of fliers attached with Ms. Smith’s OVSD business card was left on my doorstep.  Ms. Tarvin was negligent in her actions and disregarded the duty of care to not make knowingly false statements about myself, Annette Chilvers, a private citizen to damage my character.  Ms. Tarvin has impugned my professional reputation and standing in the community.  My civil rights have been violated, an invasion of my personal privacy and family with a minor child who resides in the OVSD have been placed in peril due to Ms. Tarvin, an elected official defamatory actions.  In addition, I am demanding a retraction of the defamatory comments made by Ms. Gina Tarvin to a third party via the internet titled: Ocean View School District Public Forum.

Your actions (Gina Clayton Tarvin) have become unbearable and these activities are in violation of my right to be free of such harassment.  This letter/email serves as your legal notice to CEASE AND DESIST THESE ACTIVITIES IMMEDIATELY as well any other actions, which may constitute harassment or violate my legal rights.  If you fail to comply with this notice, legal action will promptly be brought against you, including having law enforcement pursue criminal charges and recovering any damages I have suffered in civil court for physical and mental distress or otherwise.  I am not waiving any present or future rights to pursue legal actions against you (Gina Clayton Tarvin).  This matter is not open to any further negotiation or discussion.


Annette Roy Chilvers



I am reaching out to the district for their comment on this; will update as new information becomes available.

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Superintendent Hansen contradicts Tarvin’s wild claims about $2000 CPRA requests (while Tarvin quietly backpedals on Facebook). Westwell: “She is no longer credible – she is creating and spreading misinformation.”

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December 13, 2017, OVSD Trustee Gina Clayton Tarvin stated unequivocally (her usual typos notwithstanding) on Facebook that “Each CPRA (public information request from citizens) costs the district almost $2000 in attorney fees…”

With zero back-up for her strange and seemingly false claim, the information was embraced by several of her supporters and several citizens were verbally attack for “wasting” tens of thousands of dollars.

One week later, Tarvin, according to the edit history on Facebook, went in and altered the language to read “can” cost the district… Was this backpedalling in reaction to the firestorm of criticism she received for her heavy-handed attempt to shut down public questions? Did her pricey, tax-payer funded lawyers insist she do it? We may never know – but here is the proof:

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Concerned, Trustee Norm Westwell wrote this several days after Tarvin’s outlandish claims:

“I have requested information from the district as to the average cost for the district to process a single CPRA request for the years 2016 and 2017 and am currently awaiting a responsive reply.  I have received  (see below) an approximate break down of the costs from Superintendent Hansen.  I hope this helps answer your question as to the high CPRA costs.”

Here is Superintendent Hansen’s reply:

“First, please keep in mind that the complexity of each CPRA request varies greatly.  We don’t keep metrics on the exact cost of each CPRA request.  Furthermore, most CPRAs require staff time from me, Executive Assistant Cindi Lee, and often times IT Director Rick Larson.  Due to the recent increase in requests (many times include multiple requests from one individual at or around the same time), we have had to pay additional employees overtime to research records and organize and compile required materials.   In addition, many CPRA requests require the intervention of an attorney.  For example, a CPRA request may require 6-7 hours of attorney hours (@$250 per hour) and staff overtime (3 hours at $60 per hour), plus the regular daily rate of the employee who is working on the request.  Just using this simple calculation, $2,000 is a realistic estimate for some of the more complex records requests.”

Obviously, Hansen’s version of the CPRA pricing system does not jive with Tarvin’s claims – at least the first, incendiary version that Tarvin posted. But this is simply her way of spreading destructive propaganda on line, as she did recently when she accused Westwell of “organizing” a “wasteful” recall against her (why is it “wasteful” if citizens want rid of her?)


I reached out to Trustee Westwell and received this reply:

If those are indeed Trustee Tarvins’s words, then  she is again creating and spreading “mis-information” as she likes to say.  In my experienced opinion they are called lies. And, in my opinion, all well calculated to try to save her increasingly toxic political persona from further corrosion.  When things to wrong, it is her MO to play victim.  She has over used this ploy rendering it as useless as the boy who cried wolf.  She is not longer credible. For the record;  How can I be more clear?…. I did not say what she has written below.  Period.  In my opinion, she has repeatedly demonstrated she does not have any problem just making things up to suit her needs and she has done so yet AGAIN in this case.

More as this develops.

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