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Riding the elephant, sometimes

Huntington Beach mayor pro-tem may register as a Republican, but his independent streak has shown.

September 26, 2012|By Mona Shadia
  • Devin Dwyer talks about the various issues facing Huntington Beach during the Surf City Tea Party candidate forum Monday.
Devin Dwyer talks about the various issues facing Huntington… (DON LEACH, HB Independent )

He is the only incumbent running in a crowded field of 12 candidates on the Huntington Beach City Council ticket, and while he likes to please the Orange County GOP, Councilman Devin Dwyer says he votes for city first and party second.

"I like to continue what I'm doing," he said. "I'm working hard for Huntington Beach and want to see some things completed."

His willingness to publicly align with liberals at times has put him in hot water with the Republican Party. The most notable example is when Dwyer, 49, supported the city's plastic bag ban, which the party faithful and many businesses opposed.

He received the Republican endorsement in this race but the process wasn't automatic; Dwyer had to explain that vote to the interview panel.

"I sure got smacked from my side," he said with a laugh.

He remains a Republican favorite, although council seats are technically non-partisan. He's endorsed by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), State Sen. Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) and Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa).

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FOR THE RECORD:
An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to Tom Harman as an Assembly member. He is a state senator.

He's earned the respect of some Democrats as well. Former Mayor Shirley, a Democrat, doesn't always agree with Dwyer, but said that his support of the city's senior center is a big plus.

"He has experience having been on the council," she said. "And he's very open. He's always been very willing to meet with us if there are any issues we wish to discuss."

Mayor Don Hansen, who voted against the bag ban, doesn't always agree with Dwyer, but said he is the best candidate for the position.

"Devin is concerned about the fiscal sustainability of our city and is making solid decisions that benefit our entire community," Hansen said. "Devin is an independent thinker. He gets to make his own decision."

Dwyer differed with Hansen when he became the deciding vote that kept the Mobile Home Advisory Board intact. In a review of the city's committees, recommendations were made to do away with the advisory board, due to a lack of participation from mobile home owners.

"My party, yes, it's in the back of my mind," Dwyer said, "but I want to make the right decisions for Huntington Beach, not my party."

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