'I just want to finish what I started'

First-time councilman wants to tackle affordable housing for employees if he's elected to another term.

August 24, 2010|By Michael Miller,

Shortly after Joe Carchio was elected to his first term on the Huntington Beach City Council, he went for an orientation with the city's department heads. At one point, meeting an official, he launched into a spiel about all the things he wanted to accomplish in the coming months, only to be stopped short.

"She said, 'Joe, slow down,'" Carchio said. "'We go at government speed. We don't go at Joe speed.'"

It wasn't the first hard lesson Carchio learned about city politics — he had run unsuccessful campaigns in 2000, 2002 and 2004 — and it wasn't the last, as he endured his share of defeats on the dais over the ensuing year.

But with his first term behind him, the only incumbent in the council race is confident that his experience will pay off in November.

"They sent me there to do a job four years ago," Carchio said. "I just want to finish what I started."


'A very good man'

Carchio, the former owner of the Jersey Joe's restaurant downtown, laid out a series of specific goals after his successful campaign in 2006. He sought to eliminate remodeling fees for residents looking to update their homes, fix potholes and decrepit streets, and create affordable housing for employees who couldn't afford to live in the city.

Those goals have met with varying degrees of success. The council rejected the fee waiver by a 4-3 vote in 2007. Carchio has worked with city staff on fixing roads, although he acknowledged that work still needs to be done. And while he didn't get around to addressing the affordable housing issue, he plans to make it a priority if he's reelected.

But he did have successes in his first term. Last spring, he launched the Surf City Savings program, in which local businesses provide discounts and donate 1% of sales tax revenue to fund city services. The year before, he and now-Mayor Cathy Green spearheaded a push to bring the slogan "In God We Trust" to the Council Chambers.

And he organized a charity drive to benefit Haiti in January and served as a liaison to nine city boards and commissions.

"I think he does a lot of outreach," said former Mayor Ralph Bauer, who endorsed Carchio in 2006 and has done so again this year. "He tries to deal with the public at large. He comes to many different events. He's very visible and exposes himself to the public. I think he's a very good man."

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