Planning commissioners apply for council seat

COSTA MESA — Planning Commissioners Steve Mensinger and Sam Clark have applied for outgoing Councilwoman Katrina Foley’s seat.

Mensinger, 48, said he is interested in getting the job done, rather than talking about goals.

“Most politicians like to talk about what they want to do, and it gives cover to their lack of action,” he said. “If, in fact, we need more sports fields, what do we need to make that happen? If we believe that academics are important to the community, what do we need to do to accomplish that? That’s my greatest strength; it’s my ability to execute.”

City Hall watchers have said that Mensinger has the inside track because of his close relationship with Councilman Jim Righeimer.

Mensinger said he will not use the seat to run for a higher office, but instead will focus on making Costa Mesa a great place for families.

“My No. 1 objective in life is being a good father and a good husband, and all the rest of my activities have everything to do with my interest to support my family and community,” he said. “I’m not different from anybody else. The only thing I think I’m good at is vision. That vision is not a vision of what I want, it’s a vision of what the community wants based upon my experience.”

He said he will go to work on improving the city’s infrastructure and attracting new families.

Though the city has not yet released the names of the three people who have applied, at least one other than Mensinger is well known. Clark, 53, said he applied for Foley’s seat at the end of November.

He is also concerned with the city’s aging infrastructure and wants to find a way to upgrade it, he said.

“Our roads are in terrible shape,” Clark said.

Among some of Clark’s goals is to help find a long-term solution to balancing the budget and work on the city’s pension issues.

“Everyone on the City Council knows my voting record, and if that’s the type of person they are looking for then my chances are as good as anyone,” he said.

City Hall observers have long speculated that Mensinger would apply for the job and get it once Foley resigns her seat. No one specifically asked Mensinger to apply, but he said that many people have asked him if he’s interested in the job. Mayor Gary Monahan has said that appointing Westside resident Chris McEvoy, who was the third-highest vote getter during the November election, is not likely.

McEvoy, a liberal, doesn’t share the same ideology of the council members, who, other than Foley, are conservative.

“I think we need to wait until all the applications come in, vet them out and go from there,” Monahan said.

McEvoy, a math teacher, said he plans to apply for the seat before the deadline, 5 p.m. Friday.