Blake Rose believes in the Tea Party.
He's not shy about mentioning that when he introduces himself to prospective voters. The only write-in candidate for Huntington Beach City Council is probably the most obscure of the 21 contenders in next week's election, with no mailers, almost no signs and not even his name printed on the ballot.
Instead, Rose, who turned in his campaign materials too late to be formally listed, is relying on word-of-mouth to spread his message. And he suspects that it's one many residents of Huntington Beach want to hear: limited government, support for development, fiscal prudence.
Allying himself with Sarah Palin and her comrades may not hurt, at least in some circles.
"I'm supportive of the Tea Party," said Rose, a certified financial planner. "They're bang-on, as far as I'm concerned. They want to reduce the cost of government and make it more fair for everybody."
If Rose doesn't win this time, he said, he plans to run again in 2012. In the last week before the election, he's been scraping to get any exposure he can. He said he had contacted the Orange County Registrar of Voters for a list of registered voters, and he planned to send a mailer out before Tuesday.
Still, after months of candidates' signs lining street corners around town, and the police and fire unions giving high-profile endorsements, Rose has gotten comparatively little exposure. He has printed only eight signs on his personal computer and one at Staples, he said, because printing professional ones would be too expensive. His campaign website, www.hbblake.com has been up for only three weeks. And the mailer that he hopes to send out before next week will be his first.
Rose, though, isn't clamoring for a union endorsement. In fact, he considers all city union members to be overpaid and doesn't support any candidate backed by the police or firefighters. One of his goals, if elected, is to eliminate the Fire Department's ambulance service and replace it with private companies — a move that, he estimates, would reduce the department's employees by nearly 90% and cut enough salaries to save Huntington Beach about $24 million a year.
Although Rose hasn't run for office before, he has some experience in politics — in 2008, he helped Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach get Measure J, a measure that gave voters final say over increased county pensions, on the ballot.
And he's gotten one official endorsement from the Wahine Kai Women's Surf Club, a Huntington Beach-based nonprofit with chapters in California and New England. Local chapter president Cathy Young said she got to know Rose as a surfer, but her group ultimately endorsed him because of his views and his business experience.
"I really like his background as a financial planner," she said. "I think the way the economy is right now, somebody with a financial planning background would be a good person to have in that position."
Rose favors the Poseidon desalination plant, which he said will create jobs, and wants a new senior center for Huntington Beach, although he would be willing to consider locations other than Huntington Central Park.
"I love the city," he said. "It's a great city. But there's always room for improvement."