Foley officially declares council candidacy

Katrina Foley, a Newport-Mesa Unified School District trustee, officially launched her campaign for Costa Mesa City Council on Wednesday night.

Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer, longtime resident Lee Ramos, Tony Capitelli, who is the son-in-law of Newport Beach Councilman Keith Curry, and Foley will face off for the two open seats on the five-member council in November.

After two four-year terms, Councilwoman Wendy Leece will be termed out. Righeimer is up for reelection after completing his first term.

While Foley has spent more than three years representing the Costa Mesa High School zone on the district board, she’s no stranger to city politics.

She was first elected to serve on the Costa Mesa City Council in November 2004 and was reelected in 2008. She gave up her seat in late 2010 to serve on the seven-member school board.

She made waves on the school board during her term, passionately fighting for athletic complexes at Costa Mesa and Corona del Mar high schools, which were ultimately approved in September.

Foley’s first fundraiser will be a breakfast event March 12 at Crowne Plaza Hotel, where, she said, she will showcase her economic-development priorities that focus on promoting tourism.

“Tourism in our community is where we can see the best value for our residents because it doesn’t cost them anything,” she said. “We have a thriving tourist community, but we can always do more.”

While Foley says she doesn’t have any “grand plans,” she vowed to continue rallying for high-quality schools and ensure the safety of Costa Mesa neighborhoods.

“My main goal is to make sure our community is safe and prosperous,” she said.

At a recent City Council meeting, Foley said much of the community has become polarized and unwilling to see others’ perspectives. It’s an aspect of city politics that she hopes to change.

“I don’t want to be in a camp,” she said. “I want to be someone who is pragmatic and will weigh the information that is presented and make a choice that benefits the greater good.”