Working for the Los Angeles Police Department, Jim Katapodis has made his share of decisions — some of them life and death — but also got to see decisions being made.
As a former sergeant in arms for the Los Angeles City Council, Katapodis sat through the council and committee meetings off and on for several months.
"I've seen good decisions and I've seen bad decisions," he said. "I learned a lot from that experience, really."
Katapodis' time observing the L.A. City Council, along with experience serving on the Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club board of directors, as an administrator and supervisor with the department over the last 30 years and as a former second vice president of the Goldenwest Homeowners Assn., has given him the experience it takes to run for Huntington Beach City Council, he said.
Katapodis said he knows how to take control of chaotic situations, listen to residents' needs, gather facts and make decisions.
"I think my experience has really made me suitable to be on the City Council," he said.
Currently a full-time LAPD sergeant, Katapodis said he plans to retire soon and would strongly consider it if elected to the council.
Either way, though, he said he would make the time to be a councilman.
The 54-year-old read about the four open seats on the council and decided to run. Katapodis said he has seen other cities' money mismanaged and he didn't want that to happen to Huntington Beach — and this was before the scandal in the city of Bell.
"I want to protect the city from that happening," he said. "I don't want anybody on there that isn't going to be ethical."
Katapodis said he believes in responsible government and transparency.
He is being endorsed by the Huntington Beach Police Officers Assn., but he said one of the important issues facing the city is pension reform.
Katapodis said there is room for pension reform in the police department, but it's important to stay competitive.
He is against Measure O, although he said infrastructure is extremely important. Katapodis said he doesn't support locking in funds for a specific item.
He is also against Measure Q, but supported the council's decision to allow the Ridge and Poseidon Seawater Desalination Plant projects to move forward.
The downtown needs to have a stepped-up police enforcement, and future liquor licenses have to be looked at on a case-by-case basis, he said.
The candidate also supports a new senior center.
He wants to see, the city become more business-friendly by looking at permit fees.
He supports the council's decision to cut jobs that won't be replaced and implementing an early retirement program, but said he would look into furlough days and contracting out non-essential services.
"To me, it's all about making the city survive," he said.