Attention Costa Mesa Residents!
Preserve and Protect Our Quality of Life
Put the interests of Costa Mesa Residents first for a better tomorrow
Be an Informed Voter
Costa Mesa residents will be electing a Mayor and three City Council Members this year. Do you really know the candidate(s) for whom you are voting? Do you know your voting district? Do you know who is contributing to campaigns?
Costa Mesa residents also need to stay informed about the many crucial issues facing the Mayor, City Council and commission members in upcoming meetings. Here are a few of the major concerns:
City Council: Measure Q (revisions to Measure X allowing cannabis dispensaries and collection of taxes), revisioning of development, and inclusionary housing and COVID-19 ordinances
Planning Commission: New major developments, transportation and parking issues
City finances: Revenue, expenditures and ongoing litigation costs
Parks, Art and Community Services: Revisions to the Fairview Park Master Plan
Transparency: City website upgrade, new apps and campaign finance reports
August 12, 2020
Costa Mesa mayor, council seat vacancies attract 15 contenders who’ll face off in November
Sara Cardine, Staff Writer, Daily Pilot
With the filing period for three seats on the Costa Mesa City Council and one at-large mayor position closed as of Friday, a total of 15 candidates have been qualified to run in the Nov. 3 election.
Costa Mesa City Clerk Brenda Green confirmed Tuesday five candidates had filed papers to run for a two-year mayoral term, including current Mayor Katrina Foley and Councilwoman Sandy Genis, who finishes her second and final term on the council in November but may run for mayor.
The three council openings are for full, four-year terms in Districts 1, 2 and 6 — new geographic districts approved by voters in 2016 but seated by remaining “at large” council members Genis, John Stephens and Allan Mansoor. Stephens has filed to run for the District 1 seat in November, while Mansoor is not seeking reelection.
Here is a quick look at the candidates who have filed for office, by position and district:
Katrina Foley (incumbent): In 2018, Foley was the first Costa Mesa mayor to be elected by voters, rather than appointed by the council. An attorney and business owner, she first served on the council from 2004 to 2010. She returned in 2014, serving one four-year term before the mayoral election. Her position as president of the Foley Group, PLC earns her an annual income above $100,000.
Al Melone: A retired accountant who owns an asset recovery firm, Melone ran for City Council in 2012, 2014 and 2016. Describing himself in 2016 as “resistant to growth,” Melone serves on the city’s Finance & Pension Advisory Committee and was a member of a Pension Oversight Committee that no longer meets. Documents place his income between $1,001 and $10,000 and disclose stock holdings in Amazon, Microsoft and Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Quentin “Q” Pullen: A former U.S. Marine and Gulf War veteran, Pullen is a certified personal trainer and owner of Body By Q Fitness, which earns him an income between $10,000 and $100,000. Calling himself a change candidate, Cullen claimed in a 2016 lawsuit against the YMCA of Orange County he was never paid for a fitness obstacle course he created.
Sandra L. “Sandy” Genis (current council member): A graduate of Estancia High School, Genis first served on the council from 1988 to 1996. She returned in 2012 and will term out of her council position in November. In her candidate filings, Genis disclosed more than $100,000 of stock holdings in Allstate Insurance, as well as Discover Financial Services, Morgan Stanley and Land’s End.
Wendy Leece: Leece served on the Costa Mesa City Council from 2006 to 2014. Before that, she was a Newport-Mesa Unified School District trustee, from 1994 to 2002, and a Parks and Recreation commissioner in Costa Mesa for four years. She is vice chair of the city’s Finance & Pension Advisory Committee. A teacher at College Hospital Costa Mesa, Leece indicated earnings between $10,001 and $100,000.
(Includes Mesa Verde, Upper and Lower Birds, State Streets, Wimbledon Village and the South Coast Collection area as well as the Fairview Developmental Center)
John B. Stephens (incumbent): A business litigation attorney and partner of Stephens Friedland, LLP, Stephens came to the council in 2016 after narrowly losing a bid in 2012. A supporter of the city’s police and fire departments, Stephens disclosed earnings above $100,000 and more than $10,000 in income earned as a council member.
Don Harper: With a background in business and accountancy, Harper served on the Parks and Recreation Commission and resigned in April 2016. In 2012, he ran for a seat on the city’s Sanitary District and was endorsed by the Costa Mesa Taxpayers Assn. A former member of the city’s Finance & Pension Advisory Committee, Harper declared no investments or earnings.
Jason Komala: A business development professional and leadership coach who works as a store director for Target, Komala serves as a member of the city’s Cultural Arts Committee. A self-identified fiscal conservative, he disclosed more than $100,000 in income from Target as well as between $10,001 and $100,000 in stock holdings in the company.
(Encompasses Halecrest, Mesa North, South Coast Metro and the Sobeca District, while District 6 covers most of the city’s Eastside, except for small portion just east of the 55 Freeway covered by District 3)
Ben Chapman: A South Coast Metro resident for the past eight years, Chapman works as a leasing consultant for a Riverside-based property management company Hunt Pacific Management. A former Orange Coast College student, he has served on several campaigns and grassroots organizations throughout Orange County. Chapman disclosed salary earnings between $10,001 and $100,000 but listed no investments.
Loren Gameros: A former Costa Mesa High student, Gameros has been a resident for nearly 40 years. He works as an inspection coordinator for the nonprofit Operating Engineers Training Trust Local 12, where campaign documents indicate he earns more than $100,000. He is also a career and technical education teacher accredited through Rio Hondo and Santiago Canyon colleges.
Gary Parkin: A member of Costa Mesa’s Historical Preservation Committee and a former Pension Oversight Committee member, Parkin has served as a Senior Commissioner and is an advocate for the Costa Mesa Senior Center. In his campaign documents, the Costa Mesa resident disclosed between $100,001 and $1 million of stock holdings in General Motors, his former employer.
(Covers nearly all of the city’s Eastside, except the portion in District 3)
Hengameh Abraham: The co-owner of Costa Mesa wellness coaching center the House of Medicine, Abraham is the mother of two small children, a former pharmacy technician and a 2011 graduate of Cal State Fullerton, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in health sciences. In campaign documents, Abraham disclosed between $1,001 and $10,000 in earnings from her business.
Jeffrey Harlan: An attorney and urban planner, Harlan has served as a planning commissioner for the past four years and been on the Costa Mesa Community Foundation Board for eight. As an “of counsel” attorney for Beverly Hills law firm Ervin, Cohen & Jessup, Harlan disclosed earnings above $100,000 and indicated he’s raised $23,000 in a grassroots campaign.
Jeff Pettis: A graduate of Corona del Mar High School and Cal State Long Beach, Pettis worked in sales for several years before deciding to go back to school for a nursing degree. Today, he works as a manager in Outpatient Psychiatry with the VA Long Beach Healthcare System. Pettis did not report disclosable earnings or investments.
Lee Ramos: A longtime Eastside resident and former member of the city’s Senior Commission, Ramos ran for open seats on the City Council in 2014, when he reportedly knocked on 7,000 doors, and again in 2016. He previously served on the city’s Charter and Fairview Park Citizens Advisory committees and the Pension Oversight Committee.
Members of the public can obtain and review copies of the candidate documents by visiting the city’s website costamesaca.gov/city-hall/city-departments/city-clerk/city-elections/city-elections-2020. or calling (714) 754-5225.
September 22, 2020
Candidates’ interest in seats on Mesa Water, Costa Mesa Sanitary district boards percolates
Sara Cardine, Staff Writer, Daily Pilot
Costa Mesa voters will have a lot to think about Nov. 3 when they cast ballots in the presidential election and decide numerous statewide measures. But some local races could have even more of an impact closer to home.
Take, for instance, the contests for two special utility districts — Mesa Water District and the Costa Mesa Sanitary District — which respectively provide fresh drinking water and sewer and trash services to city residents.
Both district’s boards of directors have seats up for election in November, including the Division 2 seat on the Mesa Water District board and the Division 2 and Division 4 seats on the board that governs the Costa Mesa Sanitary District.
The seats of Mesa Water District incumbents Fred Bockmiller, who represents Division 1, and 3rd Division Director Marice H. DePasquale were also up for election, but both candidates are running unopposed.
Here is a look at the candidates, in alphabetical order, who have been qualified to run for the open seats.
Mesa Water District
Adam Ereth: A longtime Costa Mesa resident, Ereth believes Mesa Water customers’ rates are too high and says he would focus on directing district funds toward mitigating concrete asbestos pipes and focus on a robust water conservation program. Currently finishing a PhD in water-focused research in the Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health, Ereth has been an environmental health manager working alongside governmental agencies.
James Fisler (incumbent): First elected to the board in 2010, and then reelected in 2012 and 2016, Fisler served as board president from 2012 to 2014. He credits the district’s emphasis on providing local drinking water, as opposed to imported resources, for keeping rates low. He says Mesa Water is rare in that it does not rely on property taxes for funding, so customers pay based on use.
Costa Mesa Sanitary District
In November, Costa Mesa Sanitary District voters will elect candidates for open seats on the district’s board of directors, representing Division 2 and Division 4.(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)
Costa Mesa Sanitary District
Brett Eckles: A graduate of Newport-Mesa Unified schools, Eckles owns a small business that helps build water treatment plants and facilities. He says he’s concerned about the CMSD’s involvement in two sewage spills near the Upper Newport Bay and opposes a 34% solid waste rate increase levied against residents. Eckles hopes to reduce operational expenses, reduce rates and impose term limits for directors.
James Ferryman (incumbent): First elected to the Costa Mesa Sanitary District Board in 1988, Ferryman has served as president for multiple terms and was past president of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and the National Water Research Institute and chairman of the Orange County Sanitation District, among other leadership positions. He credits CMSD for keeping customer service ratings in the highest range during his tenure.
Michelle Figueredo-Wilson: A real estate professional and resident of Costa Mesa’s west side, Figueredo-Wilson says she wants to do a better job serving ratepayers across CMSD’s service area by not using reserve funds to balance budgets and renegotiating the district’s service contract to realize savings and help fund infrastructure improvements. She also says she will focus on implementing a long-term financial plan that will improve the management of expenditures.
Art Perry (incumbent): First elected to the board in 1992, Perry says CMSD’s rates are among the lowest in the nation. Under his tenure, the district has implemented a curbside organics recycling program and completed nearly $6 million in wastewater-related capital improvements. An Estancia High School teacher for 40 years, Perry is a former director of Costa Mesa United, a local nonprofit that supports youth sports.
September 1, 2020
Recognizing Costa Mesa leadership during the pandemic
Costa Mesa’s Mayor Katrina Foley and Mayor Pro Tem John Stephens, with the support of the majority of the City Council, have provided leadership to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses in Costa Mesa, and this leadership needs to be recognized.
They have implemented a moratorium on commercial business evictions, held a town hall on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, partnered with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), provided face mask education and enforcement to reduce the enforcement burden on businesses, established a $1.7-million business grant program for over 200 businesses, expedited outdoor operating permits, promoted buy-local programs, worked with city staff on the Business Assistance Collective (BAC) that has contacted over 2,000 businesses to solicit ways the city can help them survive, and established the ReStore Costa Mesa Recovery Team to collaborate between the city and sectors of the economy and nonprofits.
Costa Mesa’s leaders have had to walk a fine line to minimize the risk of increasing infections, promoting businesses that can open safely and helping businesses survive until they can reopen.
I hope the leadership efforts of Foley and Stephens are recognized and rewarded in November with their reelection to mayor and District 1, respectively.
August 24, 2020
Costa Mesa’s mask mandate makes sense
Reading “O.C. hits 800 COVID-related deaths as anti-mask protest held in Costa Mesa” made me appreciate Costa Mesa’s mask mandate and enforcement policy even more.
The article reported that the protest was against Costa Mesa’s mask mandate and specifically targeted the $100 fine for failing to wear a mask in public. But the protesters’ irresponsible actions, coupled with a little historical perspective, illustrate why the continued mask mandate and fine are necessary.
On the same day as the Pilot article, the L.A. Times published “1918 flu offers lessons for today, experts say, but few are learned.” The story described how cities that adopted public health measures early in that pandemic, and kept them in place, achieved better outcomes than cities that were slow to act.
Current-day protesters seem willfully ignorant to these lessons. Fortunately, Costa Mesa’s leadership began requiring face coverings back in April, when Mayor Katrina Foley pushed for ratification of the city manager’s mask mandate.
The protesters also say that masks equal mind control, but it is they who seem to be under the control of an anti-science, anti-fact movement that simply dismisses pandemic death counts as “completely and totally fake,” and creates ludicrous false-equivalencies between mask mandates and requiring members of the public to “wear a Spiderman outfit.”
The protests, and the completely unhinged protesters, make me appreciate the fact-based leadership and decision-making practiced by Mayor Katrina Foley, Mayor Pro Tem John Stephens, and the Costa Mesa City Council majority. They have my support and gratitude, and I hope they’ll continue to make the right decisions to keep Costa Mesa residents safe.