It only takes one issue to stir up the passion to get involved in city politics and for Bruce Brandt that was seawater desalination.
While recognizing the importance of desalination, the proposed Huntington Beach plant isn't well-thought out and is technically and financially flawed, Brandt said. Interest in the issue struck a chord with the long-time resident, leading him to run unsuccessfully for City Council in 2008. He is back for another shot at one of three open seats this November.
"If you're going to complain about the things that are going one, why not run for City Council?" he asked. "I feel that my education would be an asset for the council."
Brandt, a former Boeing executive and owner of a real estate company in Huntington Beach, has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in business administration.
Candidates, like the city attorney or treasurer's positions, should have minimum educational qualifications, he said.
Former Mayor Dave Sullivan said he thinks Brandt is a well-qualified candidate and would make a good city councilman.
"I like his fiscal responsibility and position on various issues," he said.
The budget needs to be handled line-by-line with public safety as a priority and outsourcing where necessary, Brandt said.
He is also against the recent ordinance that assesses emergency fees to out-of-town visitors who cause car accidents in Surf City, and while he believes the community needs a new senior center, he disagrees with using the money from the Pacific City project to construct it.
He also believes the downtown problems can be solved with a crackdown by law enforcement that would eventually scare away the partiers.
"I wouldn't want to start passing more laws," he said. "We just need to enforce the laws we have."
Brandt is involved with the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce and has past experience as president of a homeowners association in Palm Springs, but has not sat on any boards in Surf City.
Huntington Beach Downtown Resident's Assn. spokesman and community activist Kim Kramer questioned why Brandt wants to run when he isn't more involved in the community. Brandt, while a nice guy, disappeared after he ran for council in 2008, only popping up again for this elections, he said.
"My question for him is what he has been doing for the community these past two years?" he said.
Brandt said he was working and travelling too much to get involved more in the city, but now that he is semi-retired, he can devote more time to the community. He said he doesn't think his lack of previous participation will stop him from contributing to the council.
"I don't think actually attending a lot of social events is that instrumental," he said.