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Lee Ramos says he’ll run again for Costa Mesa City Council

Lee Ramos speaks during a Newport-Mesa Tea Party candidates forum in 2014. Ramos is trying again this year to win a Costa Mesa City Council seat.
(File Photo / Daily Pilot)

Lee Ramos, a longtime Costa Mesa resident, announced Tuesday that he is running again for a spot on the City Council this fall.

Ramos, 72, made the proclamation during an event at Skosh Monahan’s, an Eastside restaurant and bar owned by termed-out Councilman Gary Monahan, who gave his endorsement of Ramos.

“I will bring safety, civility and balance,” Ramos said to his group of supporters. “Balance will be key.”

In his remarks, Ramos complimented Costa Mesa’s fire and police departments, and stressed that he will find balance in a city where political discussions sometimes get heated.


“Win or lose, I care a lot about this city,” Ramos, a Costa Mesa resident since 1947, added in a follow-up interview. “That passion has driven me to give and that’s why I’m running.”

Ramos placed fourth in a field of eight candidates when he last ran in 2014. He captured 5,305 votes, or 15%.

When asked about a difference between this coming election and his last, Ramos said, “This time, I know what’s right. It’s in my heart and that’s what I’m going to follow.”

Ramos is vying for one of three open seats on the five-member council. Two are held by incumbents up for reelection, Mayor Steve Mensinger and Councilwoman Sandy Genis.


Ramos, who lives in the Eastside, serves on an Orange County Transportation Authority committee that’s studying Measure M, a county sales tax for transportation projects. He’s active with the revitalization projects at his historic downtown church, First United Methodist, where he also volunteers with the church’s human resources department.

At City Hall, Ramos served on the Charter and Fairview Park Citizens Advisory committees.

Though now retired, Ramos once owned his own business, Pacific Graphics, and worked within the Orange County Fairgrounds administration.

In 2014, Ramos downplayed his ethnic heritage, but it was significant that he was one of very few Latinos ever to run for council in a city that’s nearly 40% Hispanic. If elected, it is believed he would be the first Latino council member in Costa Mesa’s nearly 63-year history.

His campaign style last election was also marked with a particularly personal touch — a months-long, door-to-door quest that brought him knocking upon 7,000 households.

Ramos said even after his campaign, he’s continued his walks. He logs about 100 miles per month.

Ramos said he doesn’t plan to join any candidate slates, but would support those he agrees with.

“What anybody else does is on them. What you see is what you’re gonna get,” he said. “If I’m blessed enough to be elected, I will represent everybody.”