4 Council Incumbents Facing 7 Challengers

City Council candidates are focusing on streets, sewers, children and seniors as dominant issues this year.

Four incumbents are running to keep their seats.

Generally, they said they would continue building up the city's sales tax base and repairing the city's infrastructure: aging streets and sewers so dilapidated that residents complain regularly.

The incumbents--Ralph H. Bauer, a retired chemist; Shirley S. Dettloff, a publisher of educational materials; Dave Garofalo, a newspaper publisher; and Peter M. Green, a biology professor--are facing seven challengers.

All four have pledged to build a senior citizens center and sports playing fields.

They point to reduced crime rates, development projects such as Pier Plaza and the soon-to-be expanded Waterfront Hilton, as well as their environmental credentials, as reasons for voters to keep them in office.

Planning Commissioner Bob Biddle, a 45-year-old businessman, said he would be more open to neighborhood concerns. He would have stopped a proposal to build a Wal-Mart on the vacant Crest View school site before it became an issue, he said.

High school teacher Diane Benge Lenning, 51, said current council members give too much weight to interest groups and influential developers and businessmen, instead of listening to a true cross-section of the communities.

Another candidate who believes much of the city is ignored is Connie Boardman, a 40-year-old biology professor. She said that downtown should be inviting to residents as well as tourists and that Huntington Center could be vastly improved.

Two challengers, Ben Ventresco and Thom Doney, said the lack of representation is so bad the city should split into seven electoral districts.

Ventresco, a 43-year-old business owner, said he would be better at getting action on issues, such as the infrastructure problem, without all the studies and consultants.

The council members are simply too old to understand the concerns of young families, said Doney, the 36-year-old vice principal of a Christian school. He also wants to cut the money spent on consultants and concentrate on streets, sewers and sports fields for youth.

The remaining two candidates, Tim and Julie Devine, who could not be reached for comment, filed a $25-million complaint against the city in February.

They contended that the Police Department is rife with Satan-worshipers who are harassing them. The city's Risk Management Office denied the claim in March, and the Devines have not appealed the action.


Huntington Beach Council Candidates

Seven residents are challenging four incumbents for their seats in the Huntington BeachCity Council election. Candidates Julie Devine and Tim Devine could not be reached.

Ralph H. Bauer

Age: 68

Occupation: Incumbent; retired chemist

Background: Former trustee of Ocean View and Huntington Beach Union High School districts; former planning commissioner; member, Chamber of Commerce, Amigos de Bolsa Chica, Bolsa Chica Land Trust and Huntington Harbor Property Owners Assn.; 34-year resident of city

Issues: Wants more and better retail enterprises in the city, including expanded hotels; would enhance neighborhoods by providing more playing fields and fighting plan to put bridges across Santa Ana River; wants to continue work to decrease crime and improve sewer and water system


Bob Biddle

Age: 45

Occupation: Businessman, owns group tour company and clothing line company

Background: Planning commissioner; past president of Huntington Beach Tomorrow, a citizen watchdog group on development issues; member, Bolsa Chica Land Trust

Issues: Wants to find a balance between environment and development issues; believes council should put focus back on public safety and service issues; would be more responsive to neighborhood issues and problems of residents


Connie Boardman

Age: 40

Occupation: Professor of biology, anatomy and physiology at Cerritos Community College

Background: Former president of Bolsa Chica Land Trust; member, Crest View United, a group opposed to putting a Wal-Mart on the closed Crest View school site; has appeared on KCET's "Life and Times" and Channel 3 to discuss Bolsa Chica issues

Issues: Would work to save Bolsa Chica Mesa from development; supports revitalization of Huntington Center and opposes allowing Wal-Mart to move onto abandoned Crest View school site; wants to give representation to a broader range of residents


Shirley S. Dettloff

Age: 63

Occupation: Incumbent; publisher of educational materials

Background: Named 1998 Conservator of the Year by Bolsa Chica Conservancy;

member, California State Coastal Commission; former planning commissioner; former chair, Orange County Harbors, Beaches, Parks; Orange County Sanitation District director; director, Boys & Girls Club; past president of Amigos de Bolsa Chica; past president of American Heart Assn. chapter; chairwoman, Children's Task Force

Issues: Wants master plan to support needs of city's children and seniors; wants to raise "quality of life" in the city by improving design standards for architecture and other environmental concerns; would continue to improve economic stability


Thom Doney

Age: 36

Occupation: Vice principal of Liberty Christian School in Huntington Beach; reservist in U.S. Coast Guard

Background: Volunteers with youth sports organizations and Chamber of Commerce; member, Huntington Beach Fourth of July board, Huntington Beach chapter of the National Rifle Assn., Republican Party of Orange County; Huntington Beach representative to the Republican Assembly; member, Central Baptist Church

Issues: Believes he can give better representation to younger families in the city and provide better balance on the council; wants to decrease spending on consultants and increase spending on infrastructure, public safety and youth sports fields; supports private property rights and opposes bridges over Santa Ana River because it could hurt neighborhoods


Dave Garofalo

Age: 53

Occupation: Incumbent; publishes the Local News, a newspaper that reports only good news

Background: Board member of Boys & Girls Club, Orange County Council of Boy Scouts of America, numerous national and local cancer charitable groups; volunteers with city's Education Foundation and Orange County Teacher's Center Foundation; vice chairman, Huntington Beach Visitors and Conference Bureau; founding board member, Project Self-Sufficiency for abused single mothers; executive committee member, Bolsa Chica Conservancy; executive vice president of North Huntington Beach Businessmen's Assn.

Issues: Has pledged to build a youth sports complex and a senior center; wants to raise salaries of public safety employees to represent market rates; wants to cut spending on legal costs and focus on basics such as water and sewer repair


Peter M. Green

Age: 72

Occupation: Incumbent; professor of biology and ecology at Golden West College, holds a doctorate in the field

Background: Chairman, Bolsa Chica Conservancy; Orange County Commission on Harbors, Beaches, Parks; board member, Orange County Marine Institute, the Santa Ana River Flood Protection Agency and West Orange County Water Board; on environmental quality committee of California League of Cities

Issues: Wants to protect California coastline; would continue to support public safety officers and business development; wants to build senior center and study youth sports facilities


Diane Benge Lenning

Age: 51

Occupation: Teaches history, science and English to high school students in the Garden Grove Unified School District

Background: Native Huntington Beach resident and fifth-generation Californian; volunteers with seniors and Christian Outreach; member, Amigos de Bolsa Chica, Huntington Harbor Women Republicans and Garden Grove Educators Assn.; listed in Who's Who of American Women; former counselor in California Youth Authority

Issues: Wants to protect natural habitats and control development; believes she would give voice to a wider range of residents and less weight to small interest groups; wants better maintenance of streets and a better attitude toward business and tourism


Ben Ventresco

Age: 43

Occupation: Owns a retail business

Background: Works with community business groups

Issues: Proposes low-cost plan to repair streets, sewer and water systems; supports instituting elections by district for better representation; wants improved open space and more sports facilities, but also wants to increase sales tax revenue by filling retail vacancies

Source: Candidates

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