Attorney enters Costa Mesa City Council race

Attorney John Stephens, who joined a lawsuit to stop Costa Mesa's proposed charter from being on the June primary ballot, will run for City Council.

"I think somebody needs to stand up for the citizens of our city," he said Tuesday. "I couldn't take it anymore and sit idly by and let the city be destroyed for what I think are political motives and personal gain."

Stephens, 49, has been practicing business law since 1989 and founded his own firm in 1998. In 2006, the practice became Stephens Friedland LLP, which is based in Newport Beach.

He and his wife, Amy, have four children — Tommy, 20, Nate, 18, Carolyn, 15, and Olivia, 11.

"I've lived here with my wife for 23 years. I think it's a great city," Stephens said. "I'm really an evangelist for the city, and I think the brand has been tarnished. We're not the City of the Arts anymore; we're perceived as the city of litigation and confrontation."

In March, Stephens joined Newport-Mesa Unified school board Trustee Katrina Foley, an attorney and former city councilwoman, in challenging Costa Mesa's attempt to put its proposed charter on June's primary ballot after the city clerk missed the filing deadline. A judge ruled against Costa Mesa and the charter — essentially a city constitution — is slated for the November ballot instead.

Stephens has filed his campaign committee paperwork with the city and said he will launch his campaign website by the end of the week.

His will also host a fundraiser at a friend's Costa Mesa home July 16.

Stephens is the latest person to announce his or her candidacy for one of three council seats.

The other declared candidates are Councilmen Gary Monahan and Steve Mensinger, Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy, business consultant Marshall Krupp, medical marijuana advocate and business owner Sue Lester, entrepreneur Harold Weitzberg and resident Al Melone.

Twitter: @JosephSerna

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