Jerry Wheeler dreams that some day, one of his students will go on to become president of the United States.
Until then, City Council may have to do.
The president and chief executive of the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce is overseeing his organization's first-ever Candidate Institute, a four-week course in which aspiring politicians learn about campaign finance laws, fundraising, public relations and other aspects of running for office.
The program, which started Feb. 15 and runs Wednesday evenings at the chamber headquarters, aims to be a dose of reality as much as a how-to guide, according to Wheeler.
"It would either weed out the people who weren't interested, or it would lay out a foundation for the people who did want to run for office," he said.
Among those lined up as lecturers for the course are City Attorney Jennifer McGrath, City Clerk Joan Flynn, city spokeswoman Laurie Frymire and former mayors Ron Shenkman, Shirley Dettloff and Ralph Bauer. Seminar topics include "The Nuts and Bolts" (which covers the nomination process and campaign laws), "Developing and Managing a Campaign" and "Media Relations/Public Relations."