McEvoy: No ties, no strings

COSTA MESA — City Council candidate Chris McEvoy, 31, says he's not your everyday politician. And that's why he thinks Costa Mesa needs him.

"I don't have any obligations to any politician's viewpoint or to donors," he said. "The way I will vote on the agenda will be in the best interest of the city for the long term."

McEvoy, who's making his second run for council, got into politics over the closure of a beloved bowling alley, Kona Lanes.

"I remember hearing rumors of it getting torn down, but we never thought it would happen," he said. "But it got torn down. I was just so surprised that I didn't hear local officials kicking and screaming. At the time, a whole bunch of my buddies and I said we'd run."

After losing in 2008, he spent his free time attending City Council and Planning Commission meetings. He has become a regular speaker during public comment periods.

"The first election, I spent a lot of time catching up on the issues," McEvoy said. "This election, I know the issues and the focus is more on the direction of the city and making the city sustainable."

The high school math teacher, who's growing his hair to donate to Locks of Love, an organization that provides hair pieces to children with illnesses resulting in hair loss, said he'll use his degree in mathematics to solve many of the city's issues.

"I don't share the council's viewpoints," he said. "When you have a government, you don't want everyone to have the same viewpoints. I can say with confidence that I'm not going to be out there parroting the others' viewpoints and perspective because I don't share those."

One of McEvoy's issues is how the city is raising fees to close its budget gap.

"The trend is trying to balance the budget by increasing fines and license fees," he said. "They are putting it on the residents' backs. Business license fees, I think, should be on a sliding scale … You don't want to raise them where you're going to scare away businesses or hurt existing businesses."

He said Measure L, the proposed hotel tax increase on the November ballot, is a better way of generating revenue. But he said it's not the only way. In his view, another would be to look at the overall finances of the city to determine how revenue can be generated without only making it the residents' responsibility.

One of the first things McEvoy will do if elected would be to find a way to block the Banning Ranch project's proposed arterial road that he said will cut through traffic in Costa Mesa and affect residents in the city.

McEvoy was arrested in August 2006 after refusing to take a Breathalyzer exam. A blood test showed that his blood-alcohol level, .07%, was under the legal limit, he said. The DUI charge was dismissed after McEvoy pleaded guilty in 2007 to a lesser charge, reckless driving, according to court records.

McEvoy said he had a drink and waited before getting in the car to drive, but recognizes that it wasn't responsible on his part. He completed three years' informal probation in April without repeating his offense, records show.

"I'm not proud of this," he said. "I made a mistake and haven't done it since. I knew full well that if I were to run this is was going to come out. It has no reflection on the decisions I'm going to make. But again, it's something I'm not proud of."

During the Costa Mesa United candidate forum last week, a flier supporting McEvoy was handed out.

The fliers were made by Costa Mesa First, an independent expenditure committee organized by former Mayor Sandy Genis and other residents.

McEvoy, who has lived in Costa Mesa for about 26 years, said he was surprised.

"We didn't ask his permission," Genis said. "The thing is, he wouldn't take any money. This is a good guy. He would be good for the city and we need to get him elected."

Rumors that the Costa Mesa Police Assn. might be endorsing McEvoy are not true, said Allen Rieckhof, the union's president.

"Currently, under the advice of our political action committee, we have not made any endorsements for any council candidate for the city of Costa Mesa, with the exception of our negative campaign against Jim Righeimer," Rieckhof said.

McEvoy said he met with the association to discuss his objectives and goals for the city.

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