Final H.B. council candidate tally is 12

The field of candidates for Huntington Beach City Council was finalized Friday afternoon, with 12 contenders — including two former mayors — in the running for three open seats.

Dave Sullivan, who served on the council from 1992 to 2000 and from 2002 to 2006, filed his paperwork shortly before the deadline at 5 p.m. Friday. Billy O'Connell, executive director of the nonprofit Colette's Children's Home, and Tony James Carter, a small businessman, also entered the race on the final day.

The general election will take place Nov. 6.

Sullivan said he had not planned to run until he heard that former Mayor Cathy Green had dropped out of the race late last week. He opted in, he said, because he believes his conservative philosophy matches hers and will be useful in dealing with the city's fiscal problems.

"I thought Green would be a sure winner," Sullivan said. "When she was out, it changed the mix."

O'Connell, who ran for the council two years ago, similarly touted his experience, saying his nonprofit work would serve him in dealing with Huntington's ongoing budget woes.

"I believe in giving back and serving the community," he said. "Now, more than ever, we need leadership because I believe the city will be experiencing major challenges in the future."

Carter, a contractor with the Huntington Beach-based door repair and installation company Doorsmith Inc., said he entered the council race out of a sense of community responsibility.

"I'm passionate about energizing our community again toward civic duties because, at the end of the day, for all we can say, we can only blame ourselves," he said.

Despite being a first-time candidate, Carter has set his sights even higher than the council: He also plans to register as a write-in candidate for president of the United States.

"Mom and dad always said we could do what we believe in," Carter said.

A pair of expected high-profile candidates opted out on the last day. Planning Commissioner Blair Farley, who ran before in 2010, did not file his paperwork to run. Green, who had declared her candidacy weeks earlier, opted out of the race due to a conflict with another elected office.

City Attorney Jennifer McGrath advised that Green, who serves on the board of the Orange County Water District, could run for both that office and the City Council but could only serve on one even if elected to both. In a statement Friday morning, Green said she had opted to stay on the water district's board.

"After much reflection and discussion with my family and close friends, I have decided I can better serve this city that we call home as a director on the Orange County Water District board rather than as a Huntington Beach City Council member," she wrote. "I want to thank all those who encourage and support me."

The last council election in 2010, with four seats open on the dais, brought 21 candidates to the race — 14 of them first-time contenders and more than half with no government experience. This year, the field is smaller and dominated by familiar faces.

In addition to Mayor Pro Tem Devin Dwyer, the race's only incumbent, the ballot will include former Mayor Jill Hardy and Planning Commissioners Erik Peterson, Barbara Delgleize and Tim Ryan.

Realtor Bruce Brandt and Los Angeles police Sgt. Jim Katapodis ran unsuccessfully in 2010, as did Peterson and Delgleize. Carter, lawyer Alex Polsky and photographer Bob Wentzel will likely be the newest faces to most voters.

Councilman Keith Bohr and Mayor Don Hansen will be termed out this year, with Dwyer's the third open seat.

In other races, City Clerk Joan Flynn and Treasurer Alisa Cutchen are running for reelection unopposed.

Twitter: @MichaelMillerHB

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