Back to the basics.
That is how Huntington Beach resident Dan Kalmick said he would deal with the city's budget, which recently had to cut $3 million for the 2010-11 fiscal year.
"We need to get back to basics — what should the city be providing? Public safety, infrastructure and senior services," he said. "I think that's all we need to be providing right now, and anything after that is cake."
Kalmick is one of 21 candidates vying for one of the four open seats on the Huntington Beach City Council come November.
The 28-year-old is being endorsed by the Orange County Young Democrats, among other organizations, for his dedication to integrating green technologies into public service and extending public transportation, Doug Arseneault, the group's executive director, said in an e-mail.
"A forward-thinker and a genuinely good person, Dan will be an honest and fresh voice on the Huntington Beach City Council," he wrote.
This is Kalmick's second run for a council seat, after losing out to Councilman Devin Dwyer in 2008 by about 8,000 votes. He also ran for the 46th Congressional District's Democratic primaries, losing to former Mayor Debbie Cook, in what he called a protest run.
"Some of the things our congressperson says didn't necessarily jive with what I felt that a congressperson should be saying," he said.
For Kalmick, politics is the best route to "exploit" his business and life skills, he said.
"I feel that in order for me to effect change in my community, I feel that this is the best route for that," he said. "People like to complain, like 'I wish this was different.' I get tired of complaining about that and thought I would actually do something about it."
Kalmick is a business IT consultant and part of the Downtown Image Ad Hoc Committee, Bolsa Chica Land Trust, Huntington Beach Tomorrow and Residents for Responsible Desalination and a former executive committee member for the Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Assn.
Kalmick is against the Poseidon Seawater Desalination Plant Project and putting the senior center in Huntington Central Park. He said the seniors deserve a new center, but the park isn't the place. He said a number of schools have closed down, leaving the city with other viable options.
"I think we need to stop digging our heels in and realize that the original plan isn't going to work," he said.
He opposed the council's decision to allow the Ridge development, which changed a land designation from open space to allow a 22-home tract near the Bolsa Chica. The downtown area is also a problem, he said.
"We either need to decide we're going to black-box the first two blocks of the downtown … or we're going to get serious about our entertainment permits," he said.
He said the city could consider having volunteer police officers downtown and likes the idea of bringing back the paddy wagon. The downtown's parking problems also need to be addressed by getting more people to park in the structures by making it easier to find and more affordable, he said.
Still, Kalmick feels downtown has become too focused on tourists. The area needs to accommodate the residents who live there and needs a market and a hardware store.
Public transportation is a concern for Kalmick. He said he liked the Surf City Shuttle, but would have liked to see it also go to Bella Terra, and wants to see a tram downtown.
Kalmick also said the city's focus on the downtown has left northern Huntington Beach neglected. Infrastructure should be a major priority for the council, Kalmick said.
"The major things that I talk to people about are: When are you taking my tree out, when are you fixing my sidewalk and when are you fixing my street?" he said. "Those are the complaints I get from people. Those are the things that affect people's lives."