A shake-up on H.B. City Council? Maybe

Planning Commissioner calls election results 'the dawn of a new era in Huntington Beach.' Councilman doesn't expect a massive shift in approach. Council Z narrowly losing.

November 14, 2012|By Michael Miller

Meet the new council. Same as the old council?

That's the question on many people's minds as the last votes continue to trickle in for Huntington Beach's three open seats.

More than a week after the Nov. 6 election, Surf City is still braced for the final results. Former Mayor Dave Sullivan leads fourth-place Barbara Delgleize by less than 300 votes. Former Mayor Jill Hardy, in first, and Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jim Katapodis, in second, appear to have more comfortable cushions.


The front-runners are a mixed bag, to be sure.

Sullivan, who served on the dais from 1992 to 2000 and 2002 to 2006, is a conservative who won backing this year from the county GOP. Hardy, who served from 2002 to 2010, is an outspoken environmentalist endorsed by liberal council members Connie Boardman and Joe Shaw. Katapodis has called himself a Republican who doesn't always adhere to the party line.

To Planning Commissioner Mark Bixby, that still adds up to a vastly different council than the one that includes Mayor Don Hansen, Mayor Pro Tem Devin Dwyer and Keith Bohr. Hansen and Bohr will be termed out this year, while Dwyer appears to have lost his reelection bid.

"It's going to be huge," Bixby said. "This election was the equivalent of a political 8.0 earthquake for Huntington Beach. It went way beyond what I expected. I thought maybe the forces of good would pick up a seat at most, and I was ready for Measure Z to narrowly pass.

"So I was pretty amazed at the results. The long years of despair and frustration have ended, and it really is the dawn of a new era in Huntington Beach."

In recent years, Bixby felt, the council majority catered largely to special-interest groups and sometimes treated residents with disdain if they voiced opposing views. Likewise, Kim Kramer, leader of the Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Assn., said he expected a new council that was tougher on developers and large political donors.

Over the last two years, Boardman and Shaw have sometimes been on the losing end of 5-2 votes regarding development — most recently, with the expansion of Pierside Pavilion, which some neighbors said would block their view of the coastline. The two also voiced the lone opposition to the environmental impact reports for the new senior center and Beach and the Ellis Mixed Use Project.

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