Police, fire unions announce endorsements

The Huntington Beach police and fire unions have endorsed nearly the same slate of candidates for this year's election, with the two groups differing only on a single council member.

The Huntington Beach Police Officers Assn. and the Huntington Beach Firefighter's Assn. announced last week that they support incumbent Councilman Joe Carchio, former Mayor Connie Boardman and Planning Commissioner Fred Speaker for the council. The police union gave its fourth nod to Jim Katapodis, a sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department, while the firefighters tapped Planning Commissioner Blair Farley as their fourth choice.

The unions also favored incumbent Jennifer McGrath for city attorney, city Treasurer Shari Freidenrich for Orange County treasurer and Mayor Cathy Green, who will be termed out in November, for the Orange County Water District board. The groups also recommended a "no" vote on Measure O, which would amend Huntington Beach's charter.

All the candidates endorsed by the two unions in at least the last three elections went on to win — Don Hansen and Keith Bohr in 2004, Gil Coerper, Cathy Green and Jill Hardy in 2006, and Hansen, Bohr and Devin Dwyer in 2008.

"We take a hard look at the candidates," said Det. Kreg Muller, president of the police union. "The public does, too, and I think that's why we do so well in terms of success rate. We think we know what the public's looking for in candidates."

Boardman, who served as mayor and councilwoman from 2000 to 2004, said she was "delighted" by the dual endorsement.

"I'm glad that they saw that one of my priorities was public safety and that one of the most important things a city government provides our citizens are public safety services," she said. "I'm very pleased that this hard-working group of city employees decided to endorse my campaign."

Speaker said the endorsements felt like a vindication after his many years on the Planning Commission.

"To get both of their endorsements shows faith in them that I can serve the people of Huntington Beach," he said.

Katapodis, who declared no campaign funds raised in his last financial statement, said he expected the police endorsement to give his candidacy a boost.

"It's certainly going to help open some doors for me and get my campaign more off the ground," he said. "Hopefully, more people will realize I'm a serious candidate and I have a chance of winning."

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