Sullivan is stepping up to the plate

Former Mayor Dave Sullivan, with 12 years of council experience behind him, is ready to take his cuts once again.

October 17, 2012|By Mona Shadia
  • Dave Sullivan is running for Huntington Beach City Council.
Dave Sullivan is running for Huntington Beach City Council. (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

He'd rather be playing senior softball.

But at 75, Dave Sullivan says he instead wants to help Huntington Beach thrive, and it's why he's running for City Council for the fourth time.

The more-than-four-decade resident is worried about the city's fiscal state and says his most important mission, should he be elected, is to help fix pensions.

Though he spent 12 years on the council — from 1992 to 2000 and from 2002 to 2006 — Sullivan said he was always on the losing end when it came to pension spending.

"I have the feeling now that the public really understands this, and I'm hoping there will be a four-person majority on the council that will actually deal with this," he said. "If it's not done, it'll have horrendous consequences for the city and the most basic things are going to have to be cut back on."


For Sullivan, it's not going to happen through a fight or a contentious public match between the employee groups and the council, but rather by coming together as one in Surf City's interest.

"I have great respect for the employees," Sullivan said. "They do an outstanding job for the city, so I do not want it to be adversarial."

Although the city is already working toward getting employees to contribute more toward retirement benefits and establishing a two-tier system, Sullivan said it can't happen over time; it has to happen now. He added that the city's obligation is in the millions and only getting higher.

Sullivan said his experience on the council, especially during the time when the county filed for bankruptcy, and his more than 30 years running his own orthodontic business, give him what is needed to turn around the city's financial state.

"To me, it's really no different than a family budget," he said. "When times are difficult, you take care of the essentials, and you have to cut back on the nonessentials during that time."

He's a staunch critic of the property tax collected to pay a portion of public safety employees' retirement benefits and is hoping Measure Z passes to overturn it.

The senior center comes in at a close second. Sullivan, who serves on the Orange County Senior Citizens Advisory Council, has worked to advance the interest of seniors in the city and county and hopes to bring the senior center in Central Park — a divisive issue in Huntington Beach — to life.

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