William Grunwald is running with no endorsements and no political experience against 20 other candidates for Huntington Beach City Council.
But according to Grunwald, this is the year for outsiders on all levels of government. People are looking for candidates with fresh ideas and fresh outlooks, and he is hoping that mentality will give him a shot at one of four open seats, he said.
"I'm not a bureaucrat, I'm not a politician, I'm not a career government employee," Grunwald said. "I think we've seen over the last few years the results of the government mentality."
Grunwald, 50, has lived in Huntington Beach for four years after moving from Garden Grove with his wife and three children.
Born in New York, he received a business management degree from Pacific Christian College and his law degree in 2009 from Loyola.
He works as general counselor for a mid-sized business, but started as a mechanic and has experience in all things automotive, as well as a stint at LA Metro that opened his eyes to how the government operates.
During the last two years, Grunwald has seen the automotive industry, which he knows so well, suffer with dealerships closings, repair shops going out of business and employees being laid off.
"I've had a lot of direct experience in how bad the economy is," he said.
The hardships people and businesses are facing hasn't been fully realized by government, he said.
The City Council is making cuts, but because it has to, not because it's the right thing to do, he said.
The council has done a good job beginning to eliminate waste from the city, but there is a long way to go, he said.
One of Grunwald's biggest issues is the city's pensions, which he said are unsustainable and will eventually bankrupt the city.
Grunwald said the council's priorities should be public safety, infrastructure and fiscal accountability.
He would begin evaluating the condition of the city's infrastructure and examine each item on the budget to determine where the money is going, he said.
Grunwald said he supports the new senior center and Measure O, but is uncertain about the Poseidon Seawater Desalination Plant project.
Everything is about balance, he said, and that includes the downtown area. The parking issues need to be addressed creatively, and the city has an entire beach full of parking, he said.
Grunwald said there are enough bars, but he has issues with restricting future businesses because of past businesses. Promoting business throughout the city needs to be a priority, he said.
"We need to do everything we can to promote and encourage businesses to expand," he said.