Tag Archive | "Joe Carchio"

‘Concilman’ Joe Carchio Returns, as Good as Ever


By John Earl
Surf City Voice 

Victorious city council incumbent Joe Carchio won’t be officially sworn in again until December, but he has already started to “finish the job he started” as he promised to do in his campaign literature. 

So far, after four years in office, Carchio has managed to define himself at best as a barely competent acolyte to Mayor Cathy Green, who cowers in fear of councilmembers Devin Dwyer and Don Hansen, to an outright con man and thief at worst (see our series of pre-election exposes).

At the Nov. 15 post-election meeting of the Huntington Beach City Council, Carchio got back in the swing of things with a bumbling performance as the Grand Inquisitor, a poor imitation of Hansen’s trademark habit of humiliating contrary public speakers with a blend of McCarthyism and the Socratic method. 

His targeted victim this time was an unsuspecting businessman—the co-owner of Alpha Omega Christmas Trees, Inc., who was offering $8,000 to rent a vacant city-owned lot at Edinger and Parkside Lane for two months so he could sell Christmas trees and other holiday merchandise. 

About five weeks earlier Omega reached a tentative licensing agreement with city staff. That agreement was up for routine approval by the council at its Nov. 15 meeting. Omega’s trees and other supplies would be delivered only days later. Time was of the essence and Omega’s owners thought they had a deal in hand. 

The only problem was that some council members have a soft spot for another Christmas tree company, owned by the “Johnson brothers,” that had done business with the city at the same location in years past. 

The Johnsons made plans about a year ago to sell trees elsewhere this year because the city had indicated that the Edinger site would be under redevelopment and unavailable for rent. 

Councilmember Devin Dwyer had asked Stanley Smalewitz, Deputy Director of Economic Development, to help the Johnsons find an alternative Surf City site, but as of a year ago the brothers reported that they were happy with a new site they had already found in Irvine. 

Unexpectedly, however, the Edinger site was still available when Omega approached the city several weeks ago, so staff jumped at the last minute opportunity to make some extra money on the vacant property after all. 

Knowing that the Johnson’s were happy, Smalewitz and his staff didn’t bother to offer the Johnsons a chance to bid on the Edinger site. But Dwyer was ticked off at Smalewitz for not following through as asked. 

“That opportunity should have been open to him (sic),” Dwyer snapped at Smalewitz. “I mean, if we can competitively bid for something, we want to get our best dollar for the city. Don’t we?” 

But what to do now? 

Councilmember Keith Bohr suggested reopening the bid process to allow the Johnson brothers another chance to rent. Staff said that it could process everything within a few days, but member Jill Hardy preferred to leave things as they were rather than risk not getting any business at all, considering that the Johnson brothers might decline and Omega needed to find a site a.s.a.p. for its incoming merchandise and might have to go elsewhere rather than wait for a potentially unfavorable decision. 

In fact, Omega’s owner told the council, if the city of Redondo Beach came through on a potential rental deal the next morning, as he expected it would, he would have to go there rather than take the chance of ending up without a place to do his holiday season business. 

By that time it should have been obvious that the only fair and practical thing to do was to go with the original motion—to accept the agreement with Omega—and make sure the bidding process was better coordinated next year. 

Carchio the Bully
But Carchio, after agreeing with Hardy’s analysis, decided to bully the Omega owner before accepting staff’s recommended action. 

“So, in other words, you’re telling me…that if the City of Redondo Beach tells you yes tomorrow, then you don’t want to enter into an agreement with us, period. You’d rather have the deal in Redondo Beach,” Carchio asked, twisting the applicant’s words.

“I just need to facilitate my time frame right now. That’s my only consideration sir,” the Omega owner answered. But Carchio got tougher.

“[Y]ou’re telling me if the Redondo Beach guy tells you yes tomorrow that you’re going to Redondo Beach, no matter what.”

Reexplaining the obvious, the applicant said he had to be prepared to go to Redondo Beach, if necessary, and that he could conceivably end up doing business in both cities.

“Then I think you need to make a decision as well as us. I mean, do you really want to be here or do you want to be in Redondo Beach,” Carchio lectured.

“I would like to be here. However, I could lose this if that vote goes that way. And so that doesn’t make good business sense to me,” the applicant replied.

“Well, it seems to me that you’re trying to put our backs to the wall here,” Carchio accused.

Justifiably irritated by Carchio’s off-the-wall assertion, the applicant tried to maintain a polite demeanor. “Well, I’m sorry, I think you understand I lost my [previous tree] lot of 22 years, so my back is against the wall too, sir. And I’m not-”

“And I understand you’re a businessman, and you’ve got to look out for the best deal that you can make and the quickest deal that you can make, because you do have trees and they have to start selling,” Carchio interrupted, with unconvincing sympathy.

“Yes, sir.”

“The only thing is I have to clarify in my own mind is whether you’re more interested in being here or you’re playing Redondo Beach against us.

“No.”

“Or you’re playing us against Redondo Beach.”

“Sir, I just found out about Redondo Beach yesterday as a back up only because I wasn’t sure what was going to go on here.”

“So this is your – ”

“That was a good choice on my part because you’re telling me that I have to wait till tomorrow night now, after I have waited almost five or six weeks already. So I think it’s just a good business choice for me. You’re making a business choice too. If you can get this other gentleman in and he can bid more you’re making a business choice on me. That’s all I’m saying.”

Then Carchio brought his interrogation to a crescendo.

“So, what I want to clarify in my own mind: are we your number one choice or is Redondo Beach your number one choice?”

Oblivious, Carchio acted surprised when Mayor Green gasped and all of his colleagues broke out with nervous laughter.

“I’m not going to make that choice,” was the applicant’s final answer.

Councilmember Don Hansen scornfully mocked Carchio. “Wow! First of all, to the representative of Alpha Omega, we just put him in a ridiculously uncomfortable position,” he said, recommending that the council take a more responsible course.

Bohr withdrew his motion and the entire council, including Carchio, voted to rent the land to Omega after all.

In the future, Carchio will continue, no doubt, to finish the job he started four years ago.

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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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Editorial: Advertorial Journalism by the Times and Register is Bad for Surf City


By John Earl
Editor
Surf City Voice

It’s an election year. You need information to help you vote and most of the local election news you get will come from local newspapers.

So, why are the OC Register (publisher of the weekly Huntington Beach Wave) and the Los Angeles Times (publisher of the weekly Huntington Beach Independent) giving their readers (you) pabulum instead of real reporting on local issues? Why is a small news blog with a budget of under $1,000 a year kicking the pants off of corporate media giants with budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars and huge staffs?

We understand that the editors of the Times and Register are embarrassed about being consistently out reported by the Surf City Voice since we started it last April as the online successor to the former print edition of the OC Voice.

So we don’t expect local corporate news media editors to link to or mention our stories about misuse of public funds and lying by public officials, or how city council candidates can parlay shady past business experience into “pro business” resumes that qualify them to hold public office and manage your tax dollars, or how a candidate for the office of City Attorney is arguably legally unqualified to run for office, or how your city council has been voting to help a water profiteer suck up hundreds of millions of tax dollars for a white-elephant project you don’t need while telling you, falsely, that it is a “privately funded project that poses no risk to the taxpayers.”

But, come on, with their huge budgets and supposed news-gathering expertise, can’t the (not) Independent and Wave even do some basic, well-researched, not to mention investigative, reporting for the benefit of their subscribers and the consumers who keep them profitable despite the ineptitude of their corporate parents?

How much more circulation and advertising will the “mainstream” media have to lose before their CEOs realize that “dumbed down” or “advertorial” journalism will not save them from themselves?

Can’t their reporters be encouraged to ask a few thoughtful questions of our elected representatives or the people who want to become our elected representatives?

Before the Independent reported that council candidate Fred Speaker wanted to use his business experience of balancing budgets to help the city through its financial crisis, did its editors bother to look into his known record of bankruptcy or a court case in which he was found responsible for passing fraudulent car loans to a bank? The answer is no. Only the Surf City Voice reported thoroughly on Speaker’s actual business background.

And, so far, not a peep in the Independent or the Register about the arguably ineligible city attorney opposition candidate or incumbent council candidate Joe Carchio’s misuse of taxpayers’ money (and his failure to pay it back until months later and only after he knew the Voice was on to him) or his history of huge tax liens levied against him by county, state and federal agencies.

The Voice has reported on lots of 2010 election related issues that have been totally ignored by the Wave and the Independent. You can click the links provided below to review all of those stories.

Apparently the Independent and Wave can’t keep up.

Maybe their owners think that they are the only games in town, so who cares what the readers think?

Well, if anybody thinks that you don’t have other choices, they’re wrong.

You do have another choice and it has been offering you the kind of local news reporting that is vital to maintaining effective, democratic government. That choice is the Surf City Voice at www.surfcityvoice.com . It offers real reporting—that requires hours, days, weeks or even months of research and hard work to produce—instead of stories that are little more than rewritten corporate or government press releases.

If you share our concerns about local journalism and democracy, we ask you to support the Surf City Voice as an alternative source for vital news of our community left unreported by the competition. We ask you to give that support in any way you can; first, by reading our articles and by linking your neighbors and friends to us; second, by donating what you can by clicking the PayPal link at the end of each article or on the side column on every page of our web site. You can find that link at the end of this editorial.

But we’re not selfishly telling readers to abandon the Independent or the Register. In fact, we would welcome the competition—if only it existed. Competition is good for journalism and good for democracy—there are plenty of potential scoops for us all and the Voice, even with its tiny but enterprising staff of under or never paid volunteers can’t do it all.

So far, we aren’t the least bit worried about being “scooped” by our main competitors because they really aren’t trying to do the job that their readers would like to expect from them.

Maybe those editors just need a little free-market incentive from their neglected readers, perhaps in the form of phone calls and e-mails to the editors of the Wave and the Independent. So, why don’t you, as readers, contact them yourselves and ask them to do their fair share of the work.

Here’s the contact info that you need:

Times/Independent:

Michael Miller – Editor: (714) 966-4616; e-mail – Michael.miller@latimes.com

Register/Wave:
Angela Potter – Editor: (714) 796-2254; e-mail – apotter@ocregister.com

In the meantime, here are some, but not all, of the stories exclusively published by the Surf City Voice on important topics that have been ignored by the Register/Wave and the Times/Independent.

Joe Carchio, incumbent city council candidate:

http://www.surfcityvoice.org/2010/10/jersey-joes-tax-woes-the-federal-govt-is-wrong-councilman-says/

http://www.surfcityvoice.org/2010/09/not-so-wise-guy-jersey-joe-takes-city-threatens-9-11-war-when-caught/

http://www.surfcityvoice.org/2010/09/carchios-payback-to-city-came-6-months-after-learning-of-honest-mistake/

http://www.surfcityvoice.org/2010/10/joe-carchio-in-his-own-words-lying-about-divorce-misuse-of-public-funds-and-tax-liens/

Fred Speaker, planning commissioner and city council candidate:

http://www.surfcityvoice.org/2010/09/fred-speaker-crotchety-council-candidate-zips-lips-over-budget-slips/

City Attorney race:

http://www.surfcityvoice.org/2010/08/who-will-control-surf-city-the-election-of-city-attorney-is-t-gabe-houston-eligible/

http://www.surfcityvoice.org/2010/08/who-will-control-surf-city-the-republican-wrath-against-jennifer-mcgrath-part-1/

http://www.surfcityvoice.org/2010/08/secret-e-mail-revealed-keith-bohr-bashes-the-city-attorney-she-responds/

Poseidon Resources, Inc. (desalination plant proposal for Huntington Beach):

http://www.surfcityvoice.org/2010/09/defactualization-bogus-polls-emerge-from-sea-bottom-before-poseidon-hearing/

http://www.surfcityvoice.org/2010/07/probolsky-register-poseidon-bogus-desal-poll/

http://www.surfcityvoice.org/2010/06/poseidon-desal-deal-govt-may-rescue-junk-bond-project/

http://www.surfcityvoice.org/2010/05/sucking-up-aes-must-modernize-but-what-about-poseidon/

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Joe Carchio In His Own Words: Lying about divorce, misuse of public funds, and tax liens


HB City Councilmember Jersey Joe speaks about his misuse of public funds, lying to the public about his marriage, the strange sale of his (?) restaurant and the multitude of tax liens levied against him over the years–in a spontaneous interview recorded Sept. 26. 2010. To provide a better reading view of documents that appear in this video report, either press pause and/or click the option to maximize the viewing screen. You can also view the report on Youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D4VnG5D1wg

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Jersey Joe’s Tax Woes: ‘The federal govt. is wrong,’ councilman says


By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Joe Carchio sounded bitter but said he doesn’t care if he gets reelected to the Huntington Beach City Council or not. “If people don’t want me to be a councilman, then fine; I don’t care, I don’t care, I really don’t care,” he recently told the Voice.

According to Carchio, his performance on the council has been second to none going back a century. “I have given more to this city than any other councilman that was ever here,” he declared unequivocally.

Carchio spat those sour grapes out near the end of a recent (Sept. 26) interview with the Voice, an interview that he had tried for a long time to avoid; before it was over, he had complained that this reporter was dishonest, untrustworthy, driven by a vendetta and no longer his friend.

He also issued a threat.

Tax lien

Carchio's $50,252.24 federal tax lien for upaid taxes in 1994 and 1995.

This reporter was attacking him and his family, Carchio alleged, because of my supposed ties to local community groups that opposed his past council votes in favor development on the upper Bolsa Chica mesa and in southeast Huntington Beach, and he wouldn’t put up with it.

“If you’re going to start a war, you’re going to start a war,” he warned. “You’re going to start a 9-11 with me, John.”

Under pressure from a Voice investigation of his past business practices and misuse of public employee benefits, Carchio had confessed that he is not married and had kept his ex-wife enrolled on his city paid health care plan even though she was no longer eligible—the latter being an “honest honest mistake,” he said.

That mistake had cost the City’s taxpayers $2,782.73 for 19 months of care. The overpayment ended when Carchio cut his ex-wife from his health plan (except for vision coverage which came without extra premiums) last March; but, as reported exclusively by the Voice, he didn’t pay back the money until six months later—three days after the Voice inquired about his divorce status.

Carchio promised to make a tell-all statement to the OC Register the next day (Sept 27) explaining what happened. “I’m going to the Register tomorrow…I got the whole thing laid out. I’m going to tell them. I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Then, showing a bit of remorse, Carchio said he would take the heat for what he did and hinted that a public apology would be forthcoming.  “In a statement that I’m going to put out, I will take the heat. I am so sorry,” he said.

Eleven days later the Register hasn’t published anything about the topic and there are no signs of a public apology or statement of any kind. In fact, there was no sign of Carchio himself at a candidates’ forum on Monday, Oct. 4, and it was rumored that he wouldn’t be attending the debate to be held this Thursday (10/7/10) at the Huntington Beach Central Library. Read the full story

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Carchio’s Payback to City Came 6 Months After Learning of ‘Honest Mistake’


By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Six months after he took his ineligible ex-wife off of his city paid Blue Shield HMO plan, and only days after he received clues that a Surf City Voice report on his misuse of that plan was imminent, Huntington Beach City Councilmember Joe Carchio walked into the Human Resources department at City Hall and paid up $2,782.73 in reimbursement to Surf City taxpayers (Editor’s note: The City subsequently confirmed that Carchio actually owed more than the Voice originally estimated: $6,627. The full amount has been paid).

Reimbursement

Proof of Carchio's reimbursement, made Sept. 23, 2010.

The larger reimbursement estimate first reported by the Voice was incorrect because it included only the city’s share of overpayments to the health plan and not Carchio’s own premiums. But Carchio paid the amount, in full, on Sept. 23, only three days after he was confronted by the Voice about his divorce, which he had kept secret from City officials and much of the public—even though his two Facebook accounts and an official biography published on the City’s web site all claimed that he was married.

In a contentious interview with the Voice on Sunday, Sept. 26, Carchio acknowledged an “honest mistake,” but falsely claimed that his ex-wife had been on the City’s health care rolls while ineligible for only one year. Records obtained by the Voice through Public Records Act requests, however, including the reimbursement invoice, provide proof that starting in September 2008 she was enrolled for 19 months in regular health care, dental and vision plans through last March (2010) when Carchio switched her to the vision plan only for another 6 months.

From March 2010 through September, even though his wife was still enrolled in the vision plan, there were no premium charges for the City for the extra person.

However, the timing of Carchio’s withdrawal of his ex-wife from enrollment in all but the free vision plan as of last March—by which time, if not sooner, he certainly would have noticed his “honest mistake”—and his subsequent reimbursement not until six months after that withdrawal and several days after learning of the Voice’s investigation—suggests that Carchio was trying to skip reimbursement for his “honest mistake” until repayment became unavoidable.

Wise Guy Jersey Joe

Councilperson Joe Carchio, Surf City's Wise Guy: "You're going to start a 911 with me!" Photo by Arturo Tolenttion for SCV

In the Sunday interview Carchio claimed that he had “rectified” his “mistake” after having his ineligible ex-wife enrolled for only one year, not two years as records prove, and implied that he had long ago paid up.

“I realized that the mistake was made…because I looked at my check and I was getting more money,” he told the Voice. “So I went to HR, I rectified it, paid the balance.” When asked when he dropped his ex-wife from enrollment Carchio said “In March of last year.” Actually, the drop took place in March, 2010.

During the interview Carchio was furious and threatened this reporter. “If you’re going to start a war, you’re going to start a war,” he warned. “You’re going to start a 9-11 with me, John. I’m not going to put up with you attacking my family, attacking me and going after me…”

Carchio also accused this reporter of waging a “personal vendetta” against him.

Surf City taxpayers might wonder how long Carchio’s apparent scam would have continued if he had not been caught by the Voice.

They might also consider the need for affordable health care for all people and the hypocrisy of politicians who, as members of America’s ‘fiscally responsible’ political party, vote or speak against public health care for other Americans  but love to have it for themselves, and their ex-wives.

Click here to read the previous Voice report.

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Not So ‘Wise Guy’ Jersey Joe Takes City $, Threatens 9-11 War When Caught


By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Sunday, Sept. 26, was a hot day in Surf City.

For me, however, most of the heat came from a chance encounter on a street corner with a local politician, not from the late blooming summer sun.

That politician, Joseph John Carchio, a.k.a. Jersey Joe, possible former owner of Jersey Joe’s Italian Eatery at 424 Olive Street, would insult my integrity as a person and a journalist multiple times; no problem there, that goes with the territory.

But I was shocked—and nerve racked for the rest of the day—when Carchio, an otherwise congenial member of the Huntington Beach City Council since 2006, and with whom I had enjoyed a professional but cordial acquaintance the past four years, lashed out. In a fit of intense anger, expressed with squinted eyes, a tightly stretched face and deliberately pronounced words, Jersey Joe, everybody’s friend, threatened me with dire warnings of “war” and “9-11.”

Was the threat just a bluff of hot air from a reelection candidate, who is desperately trying to hold on to his seat on the council, amid embarrassing revelations by the Surf City Voice that he could have to pay back thousands of dollars to the taxpayers for health benefits that he had kept his ex-wife signed up for even after their divorce, a divorce which he had not revealed to the city or the public while maintaining on his two Facebook web sites that he is married and has eight children?

No doubt, with the emergence of Measure O—the city ballot infrastructure proposition that is partly aimed at the alleged excesses of the city’s public employees—in a time of great economic hardship and budget cutbacks for the city, the otherwise unemployed city councilperson has landed in the worst crisis of his political life. Read the full story

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Not So ‘Wise Guy’ Jersey Joe Carchio Takes City $, Threatens ‘9-11′ War When Caught


By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Sunday, Sept. 26, was a hot day in Surf City.

For me, however, most of the heat came from a chance encounter on a street corner with a local politician, not from the late blooming summer sun.

That politician, Joseph John Carchio, a.k.a. Jersey Joe, possible former owner of Jersey Joe’s Italian Eatery at 424 Olive Street, would insult my integrity as a person and a journalist multiple times; no problem there, that goes with the territory.

But I was shocked—and nerve racked for the rest of the day—when Carchio, an otherwise congenial member of the Huntington Beach City Council since 2006, and with whom I had enjoyed a professional but cordial acquaintance the past four years, lashed out. In a fit of intense anger, expressed with squinted eyes, a tightly stretched face and deliberately pronounced words, Jersey Joe, everybody’s friend, threatened me with dire warnings of “war” and “9-11.”

Was the threat just a bluff of hot air from a reelection candidate, who is desperately trying to hold on to his seat on the council, amid embarrassing revelations by the Surf City Voice that he could have to pay back thousands of dollars to the taxpayers for health benefits that he had kept his ex-wife signed up for even after their divorce,  a divorce which he had not revealed to the city or the public while maintaining on his two Facebook web sites that he is married and has eight children?

No doubt, with the emergence of Measure O—the city ballot infrastructure proposition that is partly aimed at the alleged excesses of the city’s public employees—in a time of great economic hardship and budget cutbacks for the city, the otherwise unemployed city councilperson has landed in the worst crisis of his political life. Read the full story

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T-Mob Towers Over T-Mobile: Did City Council follow the law?


By John Earl
Surf City Voice

An unruly full-house crowd got its way—for now—during the Aug. 31 City Council meeting when six out of seven councilmembers put legal risks aside and revoked permits previously given for two T-Mobile cell phone towers in separate parts of the city.

The victory came after many passionate speeches by the agitated activists—demanding that the City save their children from the [yet to be proven] harmful effects of the proposed radio towers’ emissions—and after some equally passionate election-time pontificating by their elected representatives.

But T-Mobile, which like other cell phone corporations is undergoing similar plebeian revolts in other American communities, has already won one related court battle against the City and any further challenge to its right—under the Telecommunications Act of 1996—to build cell phone towers will be a battle against odds that favor the industry that helped to write the federal law. Read the full story

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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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