New council members ushered in

The changing of the guard included some familiar faces along with one new member at Monday's Huntington Beach City Council meeting.

Mayor Don Hansen, Mayor Pro Tem Devin Dwyer and Councilman Keith Bohr saw their terms come to an end. Dwyer lost his reelection bid, placing fifth in the race of 12 with the top-three vote getters — Jill Hardy, Jim Katapodis and Dave Sullivan — earning a seat on the council.

Connie Boardman and Matthew Harper were unanimously voted in as the new mayor and mayor pro tem, respectively, of Huntington Beach. Boardman expressed excitement with what the new group can accomplish over the next year.

"For the first time in many years the city has a truly grass-roots council and I can promise the people of Huntington Beach this council will make decisions based on what's best for the city and best for the residents, and I'm looking forward to a very positive and productive year," she said.

Sullivan, Hardy and Katapodis all said they were eager to get to work. Sullivan, who served on the council from 1992 to 2000 and 2002 to 2006, has worked with Hardy, who served from 2002 to 2010, and Boardman on the council before.

"I am excited to be here and I just can't wait," said Katapodis, the only newcomer.

Boardman added it'll be a busy year with council and union contract negotiations — with most contracts set to expire in September — coming in the summer.

The new mayor also said there's several things she's looking forward to the council addressing over the next year, including campaign finance and disclosure reform — in light of what Boardman described as a "negative and disgusting" mailer campaign launched against Hardy in the recent election — and the senior center project in Huntington Central Park.

The city is overdue to update its general plan, and Boardman said she wants the council to add a climate-change provision that will address how the city will deal with rising sea levels.

It was an emotional night, whether they be tears or laughter, for the outgoing councilmen. Each thanked their families and the community for their support during their tenure.

"I am very honored that you chose me to represent Huntington Beach over the last four years," Dwyer said. "It is my hope I've left this city a little bit better than when I arrived."

Bohr looked back fondly on the year he served as a mayor of the city during its centennial.

"I had the lucky honor to be the mayor during the centennial and the community came together and did a fantastic job," Bohr said. "Thank you all for letting me be a part of that."

Family was a theme throughout meeting. Boardman and Councilman Joe Shaw thanked all three outgoing councilmen for all the dedication and hours they put into the job with young children at home.

"The one thing most people don't really understand unless you've had the opportunity to be up here is that we're really family," Councilman Joe Carchio said. "Although we have differences at different times, it's like two brothers fighting. ... We really care about each other."

Hansen, who has been on the council the last eight years, said it was family — a wife and three children — that supported him and fueled him to fulfill his duty in the city.

"My children are my inspiration and I worked hard to make sure their community's future is as bright as their own," Hansen said. "I couldn't ask for a better family."

While Hansen shed a few tears while thanking his family in his speech, he couldn't help but smile when his three children presented him with a new wetsuit, hoping he'll now have more time to spend at the beach with them.

"All right, I needed one of these," Hansen said. "We're going to put this to work."

Twitter: @TCNShortall

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