Alex Polsky believes there should be more transparency in city council campaigns, city budget management improvement and more regulations on high-density housing.
Polsky, 65, is a 16-year Huntington Beach resident and works as a dispute resolution lawyer. He is running for city council for a third time, hoping to "bring a different type of professional view to the city."
He previously ran in 2012 and 2014, earning ninth and eighth places, respectively.
He said he wants to run again to help remedy "serious cash flow problems" in the city.
"The reason I ran the first time was that I was seeing trends in the city that were concerning to me," he said. "The problems that I saw then have simply magnified over the years."
Polsky said the city's quality of life has been effected by "special interest domination."
"We have a cycle that certain special interests and their independent expenditures endorse candidates," he said. "Those candidates then pick planning commissioners."
He said those expenditures should be more transparent.
He added he believes there is a direct pattern between the independent expenditure funding by the various business-related special interest groups like the Chamber of Commerce, and police and fire departments, to "unmanaged high density."
"I'm pro-growth. I'm pro-business," said Polsky, a former member of the Building Industry Assn. "But I only support them in a manner that is consistent with the city. ... There needs to be a synergy between building, parking, vehicular traffic and the surrounding communities."
The city's budget could be managed better, he said, particularly when it comes to overtime pay for police officers, firefighters and city employees.
He said he believes an insufficient amount of police officers is currently compensated for by "pouring overtime money onto the police force, fire department and city employees."
"That's mismanagement," he said. "If you use the city's publicly available information, you'll see that after overtime, salaries and funded and unfunded pension liabilities, the city has something in the neighborhood of 20% available to take care of our infrastructure and quality of life. That's wrong. That needs to be changed."
Police also need to address the growing homeless issue in downtown, he said, adding that may have been caused by more expensive businesses going into Pacific City rather than on Main Street.
He said there needs to be more of a police presence downtown, including foot patrols, and he encourages a monthly meeting between city council representatives, the police department and downtown residents and business owners.
Polsky said his experience as a mediator could make him an ideal person to help manage the meetings.
He describes himself as fiscally conservative yet liberal on social issues.
"I believe the government should stay out of individual's affairs," he said. "I don't believe the government should be able to tell you where you can go, when you can go, what kind of bag you should carry, whether you can light fireworks, who you can marry or what bathroom you should go into."
Polsky, who also teaches dispute resolution at USC, said he plans to continue working while on council and will not take a salary if elected.
"I am running for the city, not for the compensation," he said. "It's time to inform residents about special interests and fix our serious cash flow problems."
Brittany Woolsey, firstname.lastname@example.org