One of them works as a metal fitter. Another is a handyman who can be found most weekdays selling T-shirts he autographs near the pier. Yet another identifies himself as a “systems analyst/poet.”
They are, as one of them put it, the “underdogs.” But all of them are Huntington Beach residents who want the same job: A City Council post running Orange County’s third largest city.
“Even Rocky won one or two times,” carpenter Jeff Burns, a council candidate, said cheerfully.
Two women and 13 men are vying for three Huntington Beach City Council seats--those of council members Ruth Finley and Jack Kelly, who cannot run again because they have served two consecutive terms--and of incumbent Peter Green, who is running for reelection.
Three women and one man are running for city clerk, including single mother Joanne Dalcin, who sees it simply “as a job with a good income ($51,936 a year). So I’m applying. It’s office work. I do office work.”
Treasurer Donald L. Watson, responsible for investing Huntington Beach’s $60-million to $70-million investment portfolio, as well as signing the biweekly paychecks for 1,000 city employees, is running unopposed for his $650-a-month job.
Although the hours are long and the pay meager, the City Council positions to which the 15 candidates aspire demand decisions that will affect 187,000 residents, as well as the 5 million visitors a year who come to Huntington Beach.
On the verge of a personality change, Huntington Beach is planning a massive downtown redevelopment, hoping that the ocean’s allure will draw tourists to several high-rise hotels, restaurants and shops planned for the coast. But actual construction has yet to begin on the biggest of the numerous projects, and the City Council will be faced with the task of financing reconstruction of its downtown landmark: the Huntington Beach Pier.
Other significant issues on the city horizon include an anticipated showdown later this year on a proposed marina and 5,700-home development in the Bolsa Chica wetlands, an unincorporated county area west of the city. State Sen. Marian Bergeson (R-Newport Beach) has authored a bill to establish a special district to help pay for the early stages of the development, proposed by Signal Landmark Inc.
Although many of the candidates are divided on the marina, most of them said they favor pressuring federal officials to get started on flood-control improvements for the Santa Ana River and related projects. Here is a look at the contenders:
- George Arnold: No one is quite sure how old Arnold is, nor when he became the Pat Paulsen of Huntington Beach, running every two years for City Council. A colorful gadfly who stares right into the local cable television cameras at City Council meetings and berates politicians and city staff alike, Arnold lists only a Huntington Beach post office box on campaign nomination papers.
He makes his campaign pitch from a folding table planted near the pier, from which he sells T-shirts with his autographed picture and the words, “George Arnold, City Council ’88' ” on the pocket.
“The shirt he sold when he ran for governor is a collector’s item anymore,” said retired City Clerk Alicia Wentworth.
- Robert Earl Biddle: Manager for 12 years of a local liquor store and a lifelong resident of Huntington Beach, the 35-year-old Biddle is running on a platform of “I’m an Ordinary Homeowner and I’m Mad as Hell.” And a crowded platform it is this year.
Biddle, the son of a retired Huntington Beach police officer, opposes the proposed navigable ocean entrance and marina at Bolsa Chica.
- Jeffrey R. Burns: A 34-year-old carpenter who ran unsuccessfully in the June primary for the 42nd Congressional District, Burns considers his 15 hours a week coaching and officiating youth soccer as his strongest public-service contribution.
As slow-growth and pro-growth groups have dominated the political scene, Burns says he is more concerned about public safety and believes that the city needs more police and firefighters. He said government officials ought to consider paving the Santa Ana River south of Anaheim with cement and using it as a transportation corridor--during dry spells, of course.
- Clement K. Dominguez: Dominguez, 44, will be designated on the November ballot as a “systems analyst/poet.” He works as a consultant designing computer systems and trouble-shooting for companies with personnel problems.
Dominguez, who has written a poem called “Downtown” about the ambitious redevelopment plans near the city’s coast, said his goals are to stop all eminent-domain proceedings in the downtown area, reopen the pier to Neptune’s Locker and legalize so-called safe-and-sane fireworks in the city.
- Peter M. Green: A city councilman for the past four years, the Golden West College science professor, 62, hopes to spend four more working on his council-level goals. They include rejecting the proposed marina at Bolsa Chica and protecting the nearby wetlands. Green, who also has expressed concerns about progress of flood projects, is one of three candidates endorsed by the Amigos de Bolsa Chica preservation group.
- Tom Livengood: A Huntington Beach planning commissioner since 1982, Livengood has lived in the city for 20 years and has been involved with several civic committees and community organizations. He is the director of bookstore and food services for Long Beach City College’s four campuses. He has also been endorsed by Amigos de Bolsa Chica.
- Don MacAllister: A former Huntington Beach mayor and councilman, MacAllister, 55, has been involved in local politics for 15 years. He owns an electronics firm in the city and is a director of Huntington National Bank. He has been endorsed by the police officers’ political action committee, as well as the influential Huntington Beach-Fountain Valley Board of Realtors.
- Linda Moulton-Patterson: President of the Huntington Beach Union High School District’s Board of Trustees, Moulton-Patterson claims endorsements from Huntington Beach Mayor John Erskine and Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder, whose 2nd District includes Huntington Beach. The wife of former Orange County Congressman Jerry Patterson, she is vice president in charge of programming and government affairs for Rogers Cable TV in Huntington Beach.
- Joseph Nappa: An attorney in downtown Huntington Beach, Nappa specializes in criminal defense cases and said he sits as a judge pro-tem occasionally at the Westminster Municipal Court. A self-described “free-lance” trumpet player, Nappa said one of his ideas is to have a mass-transit system, such as a trolley or bus, in the downtown beach area to solve both parking and traffic problems.
- Geri Ortega: A Huntington Beach planning commissioner recently appointed by Councilwoman Grace Winchell, Ortega co-authored the Sensible Growth and Traffic Control Initiative on November’s ballot. She is also president of Huntington Beach Tomorrow, an organization formed by city residents in order to support several self-proclaimed slow-growth candidates in the last election. Ortega wants to see a ban on offshore oil drilling and is the third candidate endorsed by Amigos de Bolsa Chica.
- Anthony Passannante: His candidate’s statement espouses redevelopment as a near-panacea for the city. “Redevelopment is essential to the life and growth of all business. Redevelopment creates a medium in which young and old alike can set strong and healthful goals that will flourish into exciting and new achievements.”
Passannante, 62, owns a pharmacy in Huntington Beach and has lived in the city for 18 years.
- Jim Silva: Each weekday morning, Silva teaches economics to seniors at Los Amigos High School in Fountain Valley. On his own time, he buys and sells real estate, and serves on the Huntington Beach Planning Commission. Silva, 44, says reducing traffic congestion is his top priority. He serves on the YMCA board of managers and was appointed by Supervisor Roger R. Stanton to the Orange County Bicentennial Committee. The Huntington Beach Police Officers Assn. has endorsed him.
- Mitchell Tracy: The youngest of the candidates, Tracy, 25, is a metal fitter who, along with his wife, also runs a limousine service. He said he became interested in politics after his father made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 1976. He opposes the Bolsa Chica marina but has not taken stands on other issues, saying he would rather take orders from his voters. “I’m giving the city back to the people, is what I’m doing.”
- John F. Valentino: A retired aerospace engineer, the 68-year-old Valentino admits he hasn’t raised a hoard of cash yet for his campaign but has rallied plenty of support from residents of 16 mobile home parks in the city. As chairman of the Huntington Beach Independent Mobile Home Owners, he promises extra attention for seniors, be it beefing up police patrols in their neighborhoods or adding special city services.
Valentino favors slow growth, opposes the proposed navigable ocean entrance at Bolsa Chica and thinks the city’s Central Park ought to be expanded to include tennis courts, swimming pools and perhaps a golf course. He also has pledged to donate his $175 monthly City Council salary to charity.
- Henry Yee: The only candidate who has been endorsed by Gov. George Deukmejian, Yee, 62, is an accountant who was born in the United States, returned to China with his family and had to stay because of the Japanese occupation during World War II. Then 6 or 7, he had no access to an education until he returned to America as a teen-ager.
Yee is also endorsed by Councilman Tom Mays and City Atty. Gail C. Hutton, his next-door neighbor until recently. He vows to use his contacts and experience with President Reagan’s National Adult Education Council and his membership on the governor’s Advisory Council--a 200-member group that makes recommendations on appointments. In a council bid two years ago, Yee was narrowly defeated. At the time, he raised about $73,000, more than any other single candidate.
City clerk candidates are: Connie A. Brockway, a 20-year veteran of the office who was appointed to the job after Alicia Wentworth retired this summer; Irene Butler, who is the assistant Newport Beach city clerk and a longtime Huntington Beach resident; Joanne Dalcin, an accountant/bookkeeper for a manufacturing company, and Bryan Taylor, an accountant for several small businesses.
HUNTINGTON BEACH CITY CANDIDATES
Candidates are elected citywide. There are 15 people running for three council seatsfour for the city clerk’s position and Donlad L. Watson is unoposed fof treasurer.
Photographs of council candidates George Arnold and Jeffrey R. Burns were not available.