An eighth candidate with a quality-of-life message has added his name to a growing list competing in November for three of Costa Mesa's five City Council seats.
"I feel that the seniors don't have representation, that the animal lovers don't have representation in the majority," said Al Melone, a retired certified public accountant. "I want to look out for the little guys being marginalized and disenfranchised."
Melone, 66, who runs his own asset recovery business, wants to avoid the divisive rhetoric sometimes heard from the council dais, though he said he aligns himself with some of the plans for the city.
"I know it sounds like trivial stuff, but ironically I am in favor of the charter," said Melone, who lives in the State Streets neighborhood. "I support the outsourcing idea. It's just not sustainable to have all your budgets, 70% or 80%, going to salaries and having no money left over to pave streets."
Fellow candidates Councilmen Gary Monahan and Steve Mensinger, and Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy, have voiced their support for outsourcing city services and adopting a city charter.
"I'm probably the only candidate who's not on their slate that supports the majority," Melone said. "I don't agree with them on other issues … they're just too cold, too hard. They don't really show a lot of heart."
The other candidates have been generally critical of the conservative council majority.
Melone is also concerned with neighborhood issues. He said he wants to see the city put dog waste bags back in city parks and reconsider rebuilding the TeWinkle Park Athletic Complex.
"They're next door to a park," Melone said of Mesa del Mar residents. "It's a quiet village. Now all of a sudden they want to put in this big commercial-type thing. It's not a breach of contract; it's a breach of trust with the people who bought it in good faith."
Business consultant Marshall Krupp, entrepreneur Harold Weitzberg, business attorney John Stephens and medical marijuana advocate and business owner Sue Lester round out the list of candidates.