Council hopeful Edward Pinchiff would advocate for community involvement

Edward Pinchiff remembers the surf culture of Huntington Beach back in the 1970s when, as a boy growing in Anaheim, he would travel to Surf City to catch some waves.

"Part of me is really nostalgic for the way things used to be here, and it'll never come back," Pinchiff, 54, said. "But if I can bring a little bit back, I wouldn't mind it."

Pinchiff, who has lived in Huntington Beach for about two decades, is running for one of three seats on the seven-member City Council.

The four-year planning commissioner, who currently serves as the panel's chairman, supports community involvement in city decisions and wants to help control high-density development.

He said during his time on the commission, he has enjoyed getting to know the people of Huntington Beach and their desires for the city.

"I think it is so important to talk the people and see how they want Huntington Beach to look, what they think is a priority and what their concerns are," Pinchiff said. "Without their voice, it would all just be a bunch of technical data."

He said residents have been particularly vocal regarding their disapproval of high-density development, which Pinchiff said he has been fighting against while on the commission.

Pinchiff, a lawyer specializing in business and real estate, added while development is a "necessary part of [the city's] formula, it needs to be done in a way that takes into account what the residents want," including reasonable setbacks from the street, adequate parking and buildings that don't look like they belong in Los Angeles or Santa Monica.

One of the biggest challenges, he said, is the state taking an "assertive role in controlling local government."

"It's a continuing, frustrating trend, and I would like to see more legislation that gives local control to the communities," said Pinchiff, who has been endorsed by Mayor Jim Katapodis and surfing legend Peter "PT" Townend. "What you will see is this homogenization of the different cities. We're all going to start looking alike. Hopefully that will change."

Concerning the old Michael E. Rodgers Senior Center property, Pinchiff said he thinks the residents should decide what they want done with the land, and noted they have been vocal about preserving it as park land.

Straying away from that and other ideas the people want would create further distrust between the residents and government, he said.

Pinchiff, who serves as the vice president for the Huntington Beach Council on Aging, which promotes wellness for seniors, originally filed for the role of city clerk. He decided to run for council once Katapodis, who appointed him to the Planning Commission, and Mayor Pro Tem Dave Sullivan announced they would not be running for reelection.

"[Jim's] time is up, my time is up [on the Planning Commission] and I still have things to do," he said. "Part of what I want to do has to do with government transparency and involving the community. I could have accomplished those goals with the city clerk's office, but with two vacancies on the City Council, I can accomplish those goals and more."

Twitter: @BrittanyWoolsey