If you know Chris Epting, you know that the Huntington Beach author and columnist for the Huntington Beach Independent prefers to write about the past: about rock stars, about murals, and especially about baseball. But don't let his easygoing ways fool you: piss Epting off, and he'll unleash his inner Moxley on you.
No one is finding that out more hilariously than officials at the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), which are laughably considering to off fire pits in Newport and Huntington Beach for good. Epting went to the last AQMD meeting as a reporter and a citizen wishing to express his opinions--and that's when things got interesting.
In his Indy column today, Epting retells what happened--officials accusing him of lying, officials calling him an "angry gentleman" (ooh, how Scarlet Pumpernickel of the insult!), and the sergeant at arms of the meeting going behind Epting as if he was ready to pull him from the meeting.
"And what happens to people like us?" Epting writes. "They get called angry, then an officer moves in close just in case they get dangerous. You know what seems most dangerous of all to [AQMD Chairman] William Burke and at least some of his AQMD cronies? The truth."
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Epting is becoming THE voice on this issue, journalistically. He offered his opinions on KFI-AM 640 last week, and would've appeared on a coming Marketplace story if not for a timing conflict (instead, they went with a bad choice: me). And he's vowing to continue to afflict the AQMD comfortable.
"This goes beyond just beach bonfires--though that's a huge part of the issue in terms of culture, affordable outings and local economies," Epting told the Weekly via email. "This is about power-grabbing boards that act on politics, not science--that shoot first and don't even bother asking questions later--and, as I learned firsthand, that are contemptuous of a public that simply demands common-sense answers. Once I saw their smug, condescending, dismissive attitude at the first meeting, I (and many others) sensed that the decision had been rendered and any public hearing were pure theater--a charade. They may try to marginalize me (and others) while I address them, by calling me "angry" and yelling at me--but that tells me one thing: they know we are on to them, that we are fed up and that we are coming after them armed not with NIMBY beachfront power players but with facts."
Give 'em hell, Chris!