Tag Archives: election

Election Changes: Poseidon Desalination Plan Isn’t Popular With New Huntington Beach City Council

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Poseidon, the God of the Sea, might have suffered a tsunami headache after seeing the results of the Nov. 6 election for the Huntington Beach City Council.

That’s because in December, when three newly elected city council members are sworn into office, the current 5 – 2 majority of the faithful will become a solid 5-2 majority of non-believers in Poseidon Resources Inc.’s nearly $1 billion ocean desalination plant proposed for the southeast corner of Huntington Beach.

Since 2004, the council has approved city permits and certifications for the desalination project regardless of incomplete environmental impact reports, threats to a fragile marine eco-system, the need to dig up local streets for a 10-mile-long pipeline, and skyrocketing cost increases ($150 million to nearly $1 billion).

All that in order to give water to Orange County residents that will cost them about three times as much as water from other sources and for a project that eschews sustainable water and energy management, including conservation, in favor of unlimited exploitation of natural resources for maximum corporate profit, regardless of the long-term consequences of urban sprawl and global warming.

Two of the newly elected Poseidon opponents, Jill Hardy and Dave Sullivan, return to the council after two previous terms ending in 2010 in which they voted repeatedly against the project. The third, newcomer James Katapodis, supported Poseidon in his previous unsuccessful election attempt but changed his position after meetings with local Poseidon opponents.

They will join incumbents Connie Boardman and Joe Shaw to form a new anti-Poseidon city council majority.

In desperation, Poseidon helped fund three sleazy anti-Hardy mailers that portrayed her as “anti-children” and all but a child molester for opposing a lift on the city’s ban on fireworks.

But that plan seemed to backfire.

Polling conducted a few weeks prior to the mailers showed Hardy coming in second behind Dave Sullivan, with pro Poseidon candidate Barbara Degleize next. But Hardy finished with over 2,000 votes more than Katapodis and Sullivan who finished second and third respectively.

Whether the new anti-Poseidon city council will be able to stop Poseidon’s ocean desalination dream from becoming reality seems doubtful but not impossible.

First, the Municipal Water District of Orange County is pondering the purchase of Poseidon’s water for resale to its 28 member agencies in Orange County (as opposed to the current strategy of separate agreements between the company and each agency). That would give the city a vote on whether MWDOC should enter into an agreement with Poseidon or not, in which case the new council would be inclined to vote no.

Second, Poseidon’s Coastal Development permit is under appeal before the Coastal Commission. The issue is whether the city violated its own Local Coastal Plan. Depending on how the Coastal Commission rules, the permit could be sent back to the city council for another vote.

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City Advisor: No longer passionate about Carchio after being ignored 3 years

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

When Joe Carchio ran for city council in 2006 Angela Rainsberger aggressively campaigned for him because he told her that he would listen to the residents of Huntington Beach.

At councilmember Don Hansen’s suggestion, she signed her name to a flyer that went to every home in the city and endorsed Carchio along with incumbents Cathy Green and Gil Coerper. All three candidates won in the election.

Carchio is the lone incumbent city council candidate seeking reelection in 2010, but he won’t be sending out any flyers with Rainsberger’s name on them this time because, she says, he didn’t listen after all. In fact, she claims, Carchio ignored her phone calls for three years after he was elected.

The problem started shortly after the election. Carchio came to Rainsberger’s home to talk about her request to be appointed to the Planning Commission. Instead, Carchio put crony Fred Speaker on the Planning Commission and appointed her to the Investment Advisory Board which would give her the important task of analyzing and advising the City Council on the City’s investment policies in a yearly report:

In preparing this report, the Board shall review the Investment Policy, Annual Financial Audits, and any other investment information determined by the Board to be applicable to the Annual Report. The Board will review and make recommendations in its Annual Report, on the following items: Investment Policies, Annual Investment Audit, Cash Management, Proposed State and Federal Legislation, Compliance with Investment Policies, Anticipate Exposure to Loss, and other areas as outlined in Municipal Code 2.110.030, including performing other duties or studies as directed by the City Council.

Considering that Rainsberger had over 15 years of experience in corporate finance, with an emphasis on “systems efficiencies, controls and financial reporting,” according to a 2005 Orange Coast magazine article, appointing Rainsberger to the IAB during an economic recession that was about to devastate the City’s budget finances may have been—no, was—the smartest thing that Carchio ever did as a member of the Huntington Beach City Council.

The problem was that Rainsberger took her job to help protect the City’s investments seriously, but Carchio apparently did not, as she indicated in a recent e-mail sent to the Voice.

“Never once while I sat on the board did he return my numerous calls. He voted on financial issues without receiving my advice. It was a complete waste of my time to attend IAB meetings, review investments and formulate advice that Carchio would never receive. City Council members vote on important fiscal matters that impact the safety and return of the taxpayers’ assets. It was a great disappointment that during economically turbulent times that Carchio failed to follow up to gain a better understanding of these important issues.”

In November 2009 Rainsberger fired off an angry e-mail to Carchio that finally got his attention. “I was wondering why you would appoint me as your advisor to a city board, have me volunteer my very precious time, and then fail to return my 10+ voice mail messages I have left for you over the last three years,” she wrote.

In response, Carchio claimed that the number she had called was “an old city number that has not been used for several years.” But the prefix to that number is not used by City Hall and a year later it is still in service with Carchio’s easily recognized voice along with a computer generated voice telling callers that Carchio’s mailbox is full and cannot take new messages at this time.

Generous readers of the Voice might give Carchio the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps there was some legitimate reason, such as technophobia or a forgotten voice message retrieval password, for not responding to his appointee to the IAB for three years. But wouldn’t a concerned councilmember have taken the initiative to find other normal means for maintaining contact if he really was “passionate about Huntington Beach,” as Carchio’s campaign signs promise?

Speaking of reining in the city’s financial problems, Rainsberger also told the Voice of a meeting she had with Carchio at City Hall about the Downtown Specific Plan after she finally managed to contact him in November 2009. She was concerned about the problem of drunk driving, related to the many bars that already exist downtown, but Carchio told her that the City’s police helicopter program helped contain the DUI problem.

To prove it—or perhaps to offer a nice perk to an angry former supporter before the next election—he offered to arrange for the two of them to go up for a ride in a police helicopter. “You’ll get a kick out of it,” she recalls him promising.

Rainsberger, still obviously more concerned about the City’s financial future than Carchio, turned down the offer due to her concern that Surf City taxpayers would have paid for an unnecessary and expensive use of police time and resources.

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The Days of Our Lives: Will Joe Carchio become Surf City’s next mayor? Will Don Hansen become a journalist?

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Informed and “reliable” sources have told the Voice that Joe Carchio has stated his understanding that, following his self-assumed reelection to the Huntington Beach City Council next November, he will become the city’s mayor for 2011.

According to practice established by the city council in 1991, however, councilmembers rotate in set order into the mayor’s docket for one-year terms. According to policy, it would be Councilmember Don Hansen’s turn to be mayor in 2011, followed by Carchio the next year.

The resolution was passed to prevent manipulation by special interests (the Huntington Beach Company in particular) of the mayor selection process, according to councilmember Keith Bohr.

Since its inception, the resolution has been followed without exception, but the city council can adopt a new selection method by majority vote anytime.

Reform advocates wanted to make the resolution part of the city charter so the council could not alter it. Their efforts failed at a June 7 city council meeting when councilmembers decided not to place the proposal on the November ballot along with other proposed charter changes.

Carchio issued a statement by e-mail firmly denying the assertion that he said he would be mayor out of turn.

“Your source is ill informed and unreliable. I have never had conversations with Don Hansen about switching rotation for mayor nor has Don Hansen had that conversation with me. Also, I am not assuming nor have I ever assumed about being re-elected, that (sic) is entirely up to the voters and I will be judged on my record over the last four years. I think we as a council have made some difficult decisions, but mostly positive. I hope you will print this response correctly.”

Likewise, Councilmember Don Hansen told the Voice that he did not have “any kind” of a deal with Carchio.

The sources did not assert that Carchio claimed he made a deal with Hansen, only that he would be mayor starting next December.

Carchio Reaches Out
Regardless, in the city’s official video record of the June 7 city council meeting it’s obvious that Carchio is reaching out to Hansen during a heated debate over whether the resolution should be put before the voters or not.

And, likewise, Hansen dropped strong hints of his own desire to politicize the process for selecting the city’s mayor.

Councilmembers Cathy Green, who Hansen accused of trying to block former mayor Debbie Cook from taking her term as mayor in 2008, and Jill Hardy, who warned that a deal might be in the making, voted for placing the charter revision on the ballot.

Both Green and Hardy are termed out under current city charter rules, meaning they have served two consecutive terms on the council and must sit out an election cycle before they can run for city council again. If elected again in the future, they would have to go to the back of the line for the office of mayor.

Hansen is termed out in 2012.

Hansen, Devin Dwyer, Keith Bohr and Gil Coerper voted to keep the charter as is, but Hansen led the argument.

But Hardy warned that if the charter isn’t revised future councilmembers will play with the mayor’s term for political purposes. It was clear she was thinking of Carchio and Hansen when she said “Watch the votes” when one council member decides to defer his term to another so that he can be mayor as he heads into a campaign for higher political office.

“They can’t be switching around to get their buddy, who says, ‘I’ll switch this year and you can have that year,’” Hardy complained. “That’s just playing the system…Like I said, watch the votes. If it doesn’t end up being in the charter, then just watch what happens. I know. I know what I’m sayin (sic).”

Then Carchio, who by various accounts is not liked much anymore by OC Republican Party big shots, and who at recent city council meetings seemed, embarrassingly, to echo every utterance of favored party acolytes Hansen and Dwyer, all but extended an official invitation to Hansen to reverse positions in the rotational cycle for mayor.

“If someone came to me, and I knew the situation were (sic) dire and that person needed to, you know, skip a term, and switch, I would switch with that person. It wouldn’t make a difference to me.”

Carchio bumbled on. “If I knew that it would help the person or make sure that if they had a serious illness in the family or an extenuating circumstance from work—”

Hardy shot back. “That will be interesting to see if since you’re due in 2012 to see if anybody asks you to switch your year.”

“If it was a legitimate request, I would probably do it,” Carchio answered.

Loathing and Politics
Of course, Carchio or Hansen are “great people,” Hardy pointed out, but “it might be two buddies trying to help somebody with a title in their future. And it might not be anyone of the seven of us, but I have my suspicions about the way it is right now…”

Then councilmember Cathy Green expressed her views, based on personal experience.

“I think the fact of the matter is that most of the games were played with me, so I can probably attest to this. And the second thing is, that’s why you have a mayor pro-tem,” she blurted out.

Hansen pounced on Green’s self pity with obvious loathing.

“As if your hands are clean and you weren’t trying to engineer it on prior mayors yourself behind closed doors. So, let’s not take a holier than though approach when all of these scenarios are played out and people have been involved on both sides of the equation.”

The council needs flexibility, Hansen explained, and the fact is, “Like it or not, there’s still some politics to this office. And I think if any games were played, it was to bring attention to that whole unity factor of working together wasn’t really working.”

By “flexibility” Hansen may mean that he wants the power to stack the city council with people who will obediently help him tackle the city’s budget problems, most notably by cutting the city’s pension funding obligations to city employees while providing him with a convenient pedestal—the office of mayor—in 2012.

City council candidates and, relatively speaking, political neophytes Barbara Delgleize and William O’Connell may foot the bill: they have spent $5,432.25 and $5,400.55 each, respectively, on Red Zone Strategies, a political consulting firm that operates out of Hansen’s home, and they should be well trained by swearing in day.

His Future
Carchio, until now at least, was left hanging by his former Republican friends possibly due to some spending votes that were contrary to Party doctrine and duly noted,  but not detailed, on the blog Red County.

Hansen has been trying to remove Carchio from office, local political insiders say, because Carchio has been Green’s lackey and Hansen, like some other council members, despises Green, and due to his (Carchio’s) close association with former Surf City mayor and convicted felon Dave Garafalo.

There is also Carchio’s own perceived vulnerability to corruption—he no longer runs a downtown restaurant, his most recent financial statement at city hall indicates he is currently unemployed, and he likes to be a big shot.

But Carchio has been as legally clean as any other councilmember by all accounts. He is also by nature eager to please the powers that be, carefully following his cues during city council meetings, an approach likely to intensify due to his apparent dire straits. All this could make him the perfect city council patsy for Hansen.

Meanwhile, by almost all accounts, true or not, Hansen is the OC Republican Party’s chosen one and is also being groomed for higher office.

A few words of caution are in order: rumors are like tumors—once they start growing they are hard to stop.

But anything can happen in politics.

As for his future, Hansen told the Voice, “I don’t have any plans at this point after my term ends in 2012. I am looking into a career as an investigative journalist.”

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Question #1: City Council Candidates Speak Out on the Ridge

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

On July 6, 2010, the Huntington Beach City Council voted 5-1 to approve rezoning from open space/park to residential for a hotly disputed 5 acre patch of land on the Bolsa Chica upper mesa and to accept a Mitigated Negative Declaration for a 22 unit housing development proposed by California Coastal Communities (Hearthside Homes) for the site–instead of a more rigorous Environmental Impact Report.

To many Native Americans, the entire area is a holy site that should be left alone out of respect for their ancestors. To preservationists it is also a place of natural wonder linked to the Bolsa Chica wetlands ecosystem that should be kept natural to help maintain the city’s already limited open spaces.

The current owner of the site says that Native American burial remains and artifacts are unlikely to be found there and that the project will not have significant impacts on cultural or environmental resources that can’t be properly mitigated for.

The following question was submitted to every Huntington Beach City Council candidate as the first in an ongoing series to be published between now and the day before election in November, 2010.

On July 6, 2010 the Huntington Beach City Council will consider an appeal of the city planning commission’s approval of rezoning 5 acres of land on the upper Bolsa Chica mesa (known as the Ridge) from open space/park to residential and its approval of a Mitigated Negative Declaration for a 22 unit housing development on the site.

If you were an elected member of the city council, how would you vote (or how would you have voted if you answer after the city council meeting) on the appeal of the Huntington Beach Planning Commission’s decisions (noted above) on the Ridge site? Would you vote (yes) to uphold the appeal in whole or in part? Explain which part of parts of the appeal you would uphold or not uphold and the reasons for your decision in each case.

The following candidates submitted answers in the requested format within the deadline requested. Readers are encouraged to post their responses to any of the answers posted by the candidates, to ask them questions, challenge or praise them. Candidates may answer readers and post questions for other candidates as well. Please keep all comments within the spirit of constructive debate and keep your comments to the issues.

Respondents are listed in alphabetical order. Continue reading Question #1: City Council Candidates Speak Out on the Ridge

Joe Shaw Runs for City Huntington Beach City Council

Joe Shaw announced his candidacy for the Huntington Beach City Council on Oct. 24, 2009 at the home of former mayor and city council member Debbie Cook. The OC Voice was there to record the event, joining a house full of supporters, including another former mayor/council member, Connie Boardman, League of Conservation Voters representative, Gus Ayer, HB city planning commissioner Blair Farley, who is also running for city council (with Shaw’s endorsement, and others. Shaw has lived in the city a relatively short time but wasted no time in getting involved in the thick of the city’s most important issues, starting as a founding member of the Downtown Business District and providing the initial idea and inspiration for Surf City Nights, a Tuesday event (4-9 p.m.) that closes off downtown to auto traffic and offers a farmers market and a wide variety of street entertainers, a welcome change for HB residents who have avoided the beer mall atmosphere, complete with bull-riding, barfing drunks, brawling drunks, urinating drunks, and drunks who drive recklessly at high speeds through nearby residential areas (including, in full disclosure, right outside of this writer’s home on many occasions) that occurs generally after 9 p.m. every night, especially on weekends and during the summer. Shaw has also been an on (when not campaigning) and off-again columnist for the OC Voice. He also served as a city planning commissioner and currently serves on the city’s charter review committee. More information is available on his campaign website at: http://joeshawforhb.com/joeshawforhb/Issues.html