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Huntington Beach City Council race has 15 candidates for 3 open seats

A virtual forum is scheduled for Tuesday in the Huntington Beach City Council race, which has 15 candidates.
A virtual forum is scheduled for Tuesday in the Huntington Beach City Council race, which has 15 candidates.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Fifteen candidates have qualified to run for three available seats on the Huntington Beach City Council this fall.

Huntington Beach City Clerk Robin Estanislau confirmed that all 15 candidates filed their paperwork by Wednesday’s deadline. The election is scheduled for Nov. 3.

With Mayor Lyn Semeta and Patrick Brenden recently announcing they will not be running for reelection, three spots on the seven-member council are available. Councilwoman Jill Hardy will be terming out.

Candidates will appear in a free interactive virtual forum hosted by the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday at 11 a.m. To register and receive the Zoom link, go to hbchamber.com.

Here is a quick look at the 15 candidates for City Council, in alphabetical order:

John Briscoe: A member of the Ocean View School District board of trustees since 2006, Briscoe is a local businessman who also is a marketing professor at Long Beach State. Briscoe is concurrently running against incumbent Alan Lowenthal for election to the U.S. House of Representatives representing California’s 47th congressional district, which is centered in Long Beach.

Brian Burley: Burley is a local small business owner. At the age of 26, he was one of six elected to the Orange County Republican Central Committee in March, representing the 72nd district. Burley finished third in the top-two primary for the U.S. House District 48 seat and calls himself a pro-business candidate. He reported an income of $10,000 to $100,000 for his informational technology job at USC.

Costa Mesa City Clerk Brenda Green confirmed Tuesday five candidates had filed papers to run for a two-year mayoral term, while another 10 were qualified to run for three open district seats.

Sonya Green: A 14-year resident of Huntington Beach, Green is a local small business owner of a staffing company. As such, her platform involves promoting small businesses to stimulate the local economy, and she also has identified public safety as a priority. She declared no investments or earnings.

Amory Hanson: Hanson, 23, became one of the youngest to serve on a city panel when he was appointed to the city’s Historic Resources Board in 2019, and he currently serves as boardman. Often heard at City Council meetings, Hanson unsuccessfully ran for a seat in 2016 and 2018. He declared no investments or earnings.

Matthew Harper: A former City Council member from 2010-14, Harper vies to return to the council. He was Huntington Beach’s mayor in 2013-14 and went on to become a California State Assemblyman for District 74 for two terms, before losing that seat to Cottie Petrie-Norris in 2018. Harper also served three terms on the Huntington Beach Union High School District board of trustees. He declared no investments or earnings.

Dan Kalmick: Kalmick, 38, has served as a planning commissioner in Surf City for the last seven years and has lived in Huntington Beach for 15 years. Endorsed by many prominent area Democrats, he also has served as a reserve firefighter for the Orange County Fire Authority and is an executive board member of the Bolsa Chica Land Trust. Kalmick’s financial declarations included between $10,000 to $100,000 in stock in Apple, Costco, Disney and Amazon.

Thomas LaParne: A native of Huntington Beach, LaParne, 41, is a small business owner and Eagle Scout. He’s also a father of four and coaches and volunteers in various facilities. LaParne is stressing small business growth, keeping parks and beaches clean and public safety as priorities for his campaign. He reported $10,000 to $100,000 of income as manager for Affordable Home Inspection.

Casey McKeon: McKeon, who describes himself as a third-generation Huntington Beach resident, is a local business owner and finance commissioner. As a resident of southeast Huntington Beach, the 41-year-old vows to ensure big-ticket items such as Ascon and Poseidon remain in focus and fight to preserve the city’s status as a charter city. He declared $10,000 to $100,000 of real estate consulting income.

Jeff Morin: A local small business owner and former longtime AT&T employee, Morin is running for elected office for the first time. Morin is vice chairman of the Huntington Beach Jet Noise Commission and chairman of the board for a local Boys & Girls Club chapter. Endorsed by O.C. Supervisors Michelle Steel and Don Wagner, Morin’s declared investments include between $100,001 to $1 million as vice president of Comprehensive Emergency Management Services.

Five people are running for Newport Beach City Council this fall, with all three incumbents in the mix.

Natalie Moser: Moser, 44, is a local small business owner and native of Surf City who serves as chairperson for the city’s Human Relations Task Force, after being appointed in 2017. She is a member of the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council, has been outspoken about homelessness issues within the city and was honored this year as an Ocean View School District Volunteer of the Year.

Billy O’Connell: O’Connell is one of two former City Council members seeking to return, along with Harper. O’Connell has been a member, vice chair and chair of the Huntington Beach Public Works Commission and is the executive director of Colette’s Children’s Home, which provides housing and support to homeless women and children in Orange County. He served on the council from 2014-18 but finished fifth two years ago when four spots were available.

Tito Ortiz: The former Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts star, 45, Ortiz is running for City Council for the first time. In his candidate statement Ortiz said he desires to make Surf City the safest, cleanest and most business-friendly city in America. Ortiz has supported President Trump in the past and appeared at rallies to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom. His financial disclosures included $10,000 to $100,000 of income as an entertainer as well as president of his clothing line.

Oscar Rodriguez: Rodriguez is an asset manager for Orange County Community Housing Corp. who grew up in the working class Oak View neighborhood of Huntington Beach. In 2015, the activist co-founded the local grassroots group Oak View ComUNIDAD, which seeks to serve marginalized neighborhoods throughout the city. Rodriguez is emphasizing education, advocacy and empowerment for his campaign.

Eric Silkenson: Silkenson, 49, is a lifelong resident of Huntington Beach and local surfer. He got his teaching credential from Long Beach State last year but has spent much of his adult life in the restaurant business. As such, he vows to be an advocate for local bars and restaurants, while protecting the local beaches and working to battle homelessness.

Gracey Van Der Mark: A member of the city’s Finance Commission, Van Der Mark, 46, now runs for City Council. She identified homelessness, unfunded liabilities and high-density development as key issues in her candidate statement. Van Der Mark did not report any investments or earnings.

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