For the next four years, Boardman said, she stuck to that creed — even if it occasionally placed her in the minority and led to a controversial vote or two.
The Cerritos College biology professor, who won an environmental award from Southern California Edison this spring for her activism with the Bolsa Chica Land Trust, opted not to run for reelection in 2004, citing a need to concentrate on teaching and family responsibilities.
Just hours before this year's deadline passed for candidates to file paperwork, though, Boardman unexpectedly entered the race — and, along with Team Huntington Beach running mates Joe Shaw and Blair Farley, she's again trumpeting the need for city leaders who respond to residents' concerns.
Residents are a diverse lot, of course, and Boardman made opponents during her four years on the council. She cast the deciding vote in a hotly contested move to bar a fireworks show on the beach, an event some feared would cause safety problems.
She twice called for the resignation of city commissioners. She sometimes drew the ire of Independent letter writers who accused her of being overly opposed to development and biased toward the environment.
To some, though, Boardman was a boon for Surf City: a non-career politician who put her community's agenda ahead of her own.
"I think they represent a ray of hope," Merle Moshiri, a longtime environmental activist, said about Boardman and her running mates. "We need a turnaround here."
Boardman is under no delusion that she'll please everyone if she's elected to the council again. But she wants to fix what she sees as a lack of gentility on the dais, where public comments, she said, often turn into hostile cross-examinations by the council members.
"I didn't always accomplish this goal, but I tried — that whether I disagreed with them or agreed with them, I always treated them the same," she said.
'A smart council member'