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Political Landscape: Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley officially announces state Senate bid

Political Landscape: Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley officially announces state Senate bid
Katrina Foley takes the oath of office in December as Costa Mesa’s first directly elected mayor. (File Photo)

Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley officially announced Monday that she is running for the state’s 37th Senate District seat in 2020.

The move pits her against state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), who has held the seat since 2015, and Irvine resident Dave Min, a Democrat and UC Irvine law professor who threw his hat in the ring earlier this year.

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Foley, a Democrat, said in a statement that she is running “to champion our issues unique to Orange County.”

“We sure could benefit from a leader with the relationships in Sacramento and focus on the issues that working families most care about, including a living wage, quality affordable healthcare and housing, clean and safe communities, and schools modernized and sufficiently funded to allow their children to reach their potential," she said. “It would be an honor to serve as Orange County’s voice in the state Senate.”

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Foley said Friday that she had decided to open a Senate campaign committee and had “received strong encouragement from neighborhood leaders, working families, volunteers, elected officials, women, business owners and others who urged me to run for state Senate.”

“I agree, like those throughout our community, that we need new, bold and forward-thinking leaders who will vigorously advocate on behalf of the people of Orange County,” she added.

The 37th District includes Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach and parts of Huntington Beach.

Foley, a lawyer by profession, rejoined the Costa Mesa City Council in 2014 after having served from 2004 to 2010. She became the city’s first directly elected mayor in November, winning a two-year term.

“I take my job and the issues impacting our city very seriously,” she said. “During my two-year term, I will continue to work to make Costa Mesa safer, find solutions for homelessness, protect our environment and advocate for local jobs and small businesses.”

In a news release announcing his candidacy, Min said he’s running “to build a brighter economic future for all 37th District families and to provide them with representation that reflects our values and priorities,” including the “need to focus on universal health care, protecting our environment, ending the gun violence epidemic, building more affordable housing and protecting our immigrant communities from the disastrous policies of the Trump administration.”

Hatch lands new county job

Former Costa Mesa city manager Tom Hatch has landed a new job as Orange County’s chief human-resources officer.

“Tom’s leadership, experience and dedication make him a great addition,” county Chief Executive Frank Kim wrote in a Jan. 16 memo to the Board of Supervisors announcing the hire.

Hatch started the position Jan. 25, according to the letter, and will receive an annual salary of $220,000. He could not be reached for comment Thursday or Friday.

Hatch’s career includes stints in Brea, El Monte, South Pasadena, Walnut, West Covina and, most recently, Costa Mesa, where he served as assistant city manager for more than four years and as city manager for about 7½ years, starting in 2011.

His time in Costa Mesa came to an unceremonious end in November, when the City Council voted 3-2 — with Foley and member John Stephens opposed — to terminate his contract.

He was entitled to nine months’ severance pay. Under a contract revision approved last year, his annual pay was set at $237,960.

The departure was controversial, as Foley and Stephens said they felt Hatch effectively left the position before the council’s vote by moving out of his office.

Then-Councilman Jim Righeimer, however, contended Hatch had left because “it was clear to him, at least, that he wasn’t going to be around much longer,” given the results of the council and mayoral elections.

Foley, however, said the idea that she or newly elected council members Manuel Chavez, Andrea Marr and Arlis Reynolds had made any determination about Hatch’s future was “a flat-out misrepresentation.”

“I just think it was inappropriate under the circumstances to pay him that money,” Stephens said at the time. “If he decided he didn’t want to work for the new council, then I think the appropriate thing for him to do would have been to resign.”

This article was originally published at 5 p.m. Feb. 1 and was later updated with additional information and comments.

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