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Commentary: Why Sandy Genis should be Costa Mesa mayor

Costa Mesa mayoral candidate Sandy Genis is interviewed during meet and greet before the Feet to the
Costa Mesa mayoral candidate Sandy Genis is interviewed during the meet and greet before the 2018 Feet to the Fire candidates forum in the Robert Moore theater at Orange Coast College.
(Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

On Sept. 11 this newspaper published a letter by Rick Huffman purportedly about why Katrina Foley should become Costa Mesa’s first directly elected mayor. The letter offered little support for that candidate. Instead, seven of eight paragraphs attacked Mayor Sandy Genis with spurious, unsupported allegations. I’m writing about why we need Genis in the mayor’s seat.’

Without offering evidence, Huffman alleged Genis aligned herself with a “political machine we worked so hard to defeat.” That is untrue. Sandy Genis is as independent as she has always been. She is not aligned with any party, slate, faction or “machine.”

Her City Council votes are often 3-2, siding with Foley and Stephens, infrequently 3-2 with Mansoor and Righeimer. At times she is the 1 on a 4-1 vote. Her independent attitude and ability to analyze issues on their merits or demerits is refreshing.

Genis’ record demonstrates her commitment to Costa Mesa residents. She requested a moratorium on small lot developments until the City Council could work out new rules. Many residents sent emails and some bravely spoke at the council meeting in favor of a moratorium, but Genis’ motion did not get a second.


As a result, new applications were processed under inferior old rules. Eventually, council approved standards that provided more parking and open space. Genis worked toward consensus on a motion that almost everyone could support. It passed 4-1, only Stephens voting no.

There is a mayoral election this year as the result of a flawed 2016 ballot initiative written by that former “machine.” Genis proposed placing an initiative on the 2020 ballot that would reduce council districts to five and eliminate an unfair system that gives two council votes to one district, defeating the purpose of districting. Again, no one seconded her motion, even though she was advocating it at the request of many residents.

The Huffman letter spends three paragraphs on false accusations about Genis’ ballot statement. At the urging of Genis’ opponent, former Councilwoman Wendy Leece sued Genis, accusing her of false and misleading statements. Prior to that the city clerk had been bombarded with emails from Councilwoman Katrina Foley, demanding the clerk remove parts of Genis’ statement.

The city clerk found no grounds to remove any of Genis’ wording. To avoid steep time and financial losses, Genis made minor changes to her statement.


Overall, Genis’ philosophy is one of service to the people of Costa Mesa, not to any faction, party or outside entities. That is why I will be voting for Genis as Costa Mesa’s first directly elected mayor.

Robin Leffler lives in Costa Mesa.