Los Angeles Times

Seven challenging incumbents

Editor's note: This changes the third paragraph to include Patrick Tucker's title.

Ten candidates for the Fountain Valley City Council are going into the last three weeks of campaigning.

Candidates are vying for three opens seats occupied by Mayor Pro Tem Cheryl Brothers and Councilmen Guy Carrozzo and John Collins, each of whom are running for reelection.

The candidates range from a tire stores manager, teachers, a small business owner and an insurance broker, to two unemployed folks, one working on getting a job and another a former quality supervisor analyst rendered unable to work by a disability.

The following are brief profiles of the seven challengers in the race based on questionnaires they submitted to the Independent. The incumbents were featured last week.


Looking for a chance to serve


Jim Pull, 50, a Minnesota native, who has lived in Fountain Valley for about 40 years, is unemployed because of a disability and looking to get his first taste at being a public servant; he has never held an elected office before.

His unemployment has given him the opportunity to run, Pull said. He will have the time and energy to devote to the city without the distractions of a job, he said.

"I am proud of my city," he said. "I enjoy living here and want to do everything I can so that all the residents feel the same way."

The biggest issues in the city are the budget and "maintaining public safety and services in the current economic situation while trying to create a budget that will not only keep us from going further into debt, but also pull us out of our current past due obligations," he said.

The city needs to also encourage businesses in the city by streamlining building codes and fees, he said.


Water not wasted


Mark McCurdy, an insurance broker, was born in Lynwood and but moved to Fountain Valley nearly 20 years ago.

The 50-year-old has served as the Chamber of Commerce president, Housing and Community Development Advisory Board chairman, a traffic commissioner and as a member of the Orange County Transportation Authority Citizens Advisory Committee.

For McCurdy, the biggest issues the city faces are revenue, attracting business, repairing aging infrastructure and transparency. He supports how the council has handled the budget and said he would continue the practice in the future.

But McCurdy doesn't support the council's decision to adopt additional water restrictions, he said, because Fountain Valley was already using water responsibly.

"It does not seem appropriate to reward responsible behavior by wheeling out new burdensome regulations," he said.


New kid on the block


Duy Nguyen, 36, is

a small-business owner and financial consultant with a political science degree from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

The Vietnam native said he likes Fountain Valley and decided to run when he saw the issues it was having with the budget and believes it faces further challenges with economic growth and creating a business-friendly environment, which go hand-in-hand.

The city needs to update its antiquated code and regulations to become friendly to small businesses, he said.

"The times are changing, and the city needs to change with the times," he said.


The state's the problem


Frank Evan Perdicaro, 45, has a master's degree in electrical engineering and has worked for 23 years in software production. He is unemployed and looking for a job.

The Massachusetts-born Perdicaro has lived in the city for about 14 years and belongs to the Fountain Valley Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services, a volunteer program with the Police Department; the NRA members council of Huntington Beach; and Experience Unlimited, Irvine, a professional networking group.

Perdicaro said the biggest issues facing Fountain Valley are at the state and federal level, with mismanagement and a lack of funding from the state.

"The state does not have the money to pay its local school obligation," he said. "Lack of funding from the state will cause cash-flow headaches."


Doesn't want the salary


Michael Vo, 47, says he is a businessman, not a politician.

As such, he said he isn't running for the paycheck or the medical benefits, and would donate his council stipend to local charities.

The Vietnam native, who has lived in the city for 22 years, said the city's biggest challenges are the economy and restoring lost sales tax revenue.

"New businesses are choosing neighboring cities over Fountain Valley, and reduced sales tax revenue has contributed to a budget deficit and reductions in city services," he said.

He said he also wants to improve the city's business climate to increase efficiency and cut waste at City Hall.


Being business friendly


Steve Schultz, 26, the only native in the race, is a teacher at Fountain Valley High School and member of the Summerfest Committee, Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Club. He also served as a volunteer intern in the city manager's office.

Fountain Valley's biggest issues revolve around declining revenue and businesses leaving the city, he said.

The city has "prohibitive requirements" and outdated policies that make businesses afraid to come to the city.

"Our beloved city has become a place people drive through instead of a destination for business," he said. "More and more companies are leaving Fountain Valley to set up shop in nearby towns."

Schultz also disagrees with reducing crossing-guard hours. He said the council should have turned to local nonprofits for help fund the officerspm.

"I have witnessed crossing guards save the life of a child from speeding cars on many occasions," he said. "The decision to eliminate our crossing guards, who protect our children, brought a very small savings to the city budget, but took away an important service to the families of Fountain Valley."


Politicians should pass baton


Patrick Tucker, 46, is a 16-year Fountain Valley resident who has sat on Fountain Valley High School's baseball board and been involved in the Taste of Fountain Valley and Summerfest.

Tucker said the city's biggest challenges are dealing with the economic situation, the loss of revenues for businesses and decreased home values.

"Finding a way to attract shoppers and consumers to Fountain Valley will go a long way toward increasing sales-tax-based revenues," he said.

The city was right in extending its moratorium on marijuana dispensaries, but the clinics should have been permanently banned, Tucker said. He also said the council term limits should be followed without the "grandfather clause" that doesn't count terms prior to 2004, he said.

"I feel the political system should be comprised of common citizens who have a desire to serve their communities, not career politicians," he said. "Government at all levels should be similar to a relay race. Participants may serve a term or two, then pass the baton on to new delegates for a fresh new perspective."

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