Fountain Valley is coming into the home stretch of the November elections with more than three times the number of City Council candidates than there are open seats.
There are 10 candidates running for three opens seats being vacated by Mayor Pro Tem Cheryl Brothers and Councilmen Guy Carrozzo and John Collins, all of whom are running for reelection.
The candidates range from teachers, a small business owner and an insurance broker to two unemployed, one working on getting a job and another a former quality supervisor analyst rendered unable to work by a disability.
They range in age from 26 to 78, but they almost all agree that the biggest issues facing Fountain Valley are the economic situation and the state's budget problems.
Despite the conditions, the three incumbents qualify that the council has taken steps that put the city in a better position than most.
"We are a fiscally conservative, and forward-thinking council, and because of our decisions over the years, Fountain Valley is in a much better position than most other cities dealing with today's economic challenges," Collins said.
The following are brief profiles of the three incumbent candidates in the race based on a questionnaire from the Independent . The remaining seven candidates will be featured next week.
Third times the charm
Brothers has lived in Fountain Valley for more than half of her life and has served on the council for the last eight years, including as mayor in 2006.
The 64-year-old has sat on numerous boards, including the Fountain Valley Community Services and Planning commissions, and holds positions on the Orange County Local Area Formation Commission, Orange County Council of Governments and as the 2010-11 board of trustees president of the Orange County division of the League of Cities.
The city's biggest issues are dealing with the economic downturn, the impact of the state's budget deficit on the city, and high cost of pensions and health-care coverage, she said.
During her time on the council, Brothers worked with the council to reorganize some departments without doing layoffs and negotiated with employees to reduce payroll, she said.
Buffing up business
Carrozzo, a retired school principal, has spent 46 years in Fountain Valley.
The 78-year-old has served on a number of boards including the League of Cities as a city legislative delegate, the Orange County Public Library Advisory Board, the Fountain Valley Redevelopment Agency, the Orange County Sanitation District and the Fountain Valley Housing and Community Development Advisory Board.
Carrozzo said the biggest challenges the city faces is protecting city money from state raids and encouraging new, and maintaining existing, businesses in the city "thus bringing in revenue to our city so we can keep our community vibrant and beautiful."
Carrozzo, with the council over the last year, hired a consultant to study Fountain Valley's industrial area and figure out how to upgrade the area and stimulate the city's economy, he said.
20 years and counting
Despite Collins' Boston accent, the 66-year-old has lived in Fountain Valley for 37 years and has served on the council for the majority of those years.
A retired child-abuse prevention specialist, Collins has served on the City Council since 1990, rotating in as mayor five times over the years.
With 20 years municipal government experience under his belt, Collins said fiscal stability is the biggest challenge in recent memory that the city is facing.
"We need to balance our budget, control expenses, streamline operations while maintaining sufficient reserves for emergencies," he said.
Collins, along with the council over the last year, has reorganized operations, negotiated labor agreements and contracted with outside agencies to reduce costs, he said.
Check out all the candidate profiles at http://www.hbindependent.com.