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: Revisions to overlays and specific plans, homeless solutions, and needle exchange
Planning Commission: New major developments, transportation and parking issues
City finances: Revenue, expenditures and ongoing litigation costs
Parks and Recreation: Revisions to the Fairview Park Master Plan
Transparency: City website upgrade, new apps and campaign finance reports
August 24, 2018
Ex-Costa Mesa councilwoman asks court to strike disputed language from mayor’s candidate statement
Luke Money, Reporter, Daily Pilot
The Costa Mesa mayor’s race veered into Orange County Superior Court this week when a former City Council member filed a petition seeking to delete parts of the candidate statement submitted by current Mayor Sandy Genis for her November election showdown against Councilwoman Katrina Foley.
Monday’s filing from resident Wendy Leece would place about a third of Genis’ candidate statement on the chopping block. Leece alleges that portions are false, misleading and improperly reference and denigrate Foley.
“This has not been an easy decision — Sandy and I have been friends for more than 30 years,” Leece said Friday. “It’s all right for friends to disagree. The election code is clear: A candidate cannot compare to another candidate. A ballot statement must not be false or misleading.”
Leece said she’s asking for the disputed language to be struck because “every candidate needs to follow the law and be clear in context of past experience so that all voters are not misled.”
Genis, however, maintains that her statement is accurate. “I’m confident we will prevail on that,” she said.
“I think it’s unfortunate that we’ve gotten to this level in our local elections,” Genis added. “It’s simply intended as a distraction to take away from the issues we should be looking at in the campaign.”
A hearing on the petition is scheduled for Monday.
Among the portions Leece is seeking to erase is Genis’ contention that she was the “only mayoral candidate to stand up against [the] Orange County Needle Exchange Program in state review.”
“What is ‘in state review?’” Leece said. “It’s misleading because the average voter would not know that everybody, all the council members, went on record in several votes to oppose it.”
Foley and Genis were part of two 4-0 City Council votes this month opposing the mobile needle-exchange service, which received state approval in July to operate in Costa Mesa and three other Orange County cities. One vote was to join the county in legal action seeking to block the program; the other was to adopt an urgency ordinance prohibiting needle exchanges anywhere in the city.
The two also made public statements against the service at the May 1 council meeting.
Other disputed passages in Genis’ statement include claims that she was the only candidate to “vote to protect single-family neighborhoods from wholesale duplex conversion,” “vote no on high-density 2015 general plan,” “vote no on 56 unit/acre, costly for taxpayers (over $1,500,000) Motor Inn project,” and to support “financial reserves at full level recommended by Costa Mesa Finance Advisory Committee.”
Leece alleges those claims are false and misleading because they either misstate Foley’s past votes and public statements or contain inaccurate information.
Leece also takes issue with the section reading “Costa Mesa residents have the right to clean, open government and decisions free of cronyism. No backroom deals.”
Though that statement doesn’t mention a particular person or action, Leece’s petition alleges it is “false and improper” and runs afoul of a provision of state elections code that “prohibits statements that make reference to another candidate’s character or activities.”
“I’m disappointed that Ms. Genis is using the ballot booklet to attempt to degrade me,” Foley said Friday. “She’s really misleading the voters as to my record, which is nearly identical to hers as to all of these issues.”
Genis, a Mesa Verde resident, was elected to the council in 2012 and 2016 and previously served from 1988 to 1996. Foley, who lives in Mesa del Mar, rejoined the council in 2014 after having served from 2004 to 2010.
Foley’s council colleagues appointed her as mayor in December 2016 following that year’s election. However, she was removed from the role in favor of Genis during a highly contentious meeting in November.
Now the two are on opposing sides in the race to become the first Costa Mesa mayor directly elected by voters rather than chosen among council members. The election is Nov. 6.
“I am going to continue to run a very positive campaign that talks about the issues and why I think I am best suited to lead our city in a positive, collaborative, inclusive way,” Foley said. “Ms. Genis has chosen to run a negative campaign against me. That’s truly disappointing.”
Genis, however, said it’s unfortunate “that the Foley team is willing to go to court to suppress what I consider to be a pretty good record on the council.”
“They must think so too if they want to suppress it,” she said.
September 24, 2018
Costa Mesa mayor agrees to revise her candidate statement in response to complaint
Luke Money, Reporter, Daily Pilot
Costa Mesa Mayor Sandy Genis has agreed to revise the candidate statement for her November election campaign in response to allegations that some sections were misleading, false or improperly denigrated her opponent in the race, Councilwoman Katrina Foley.
Under an agreement signed Wednesday by Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert Moss, Genis edited several statements that Wendy Leece — a Costa Mesa resident and former City Council member — petitioned the court last month to have deleted.
The revisions outlined in court documents include changing Genis’ original contention that she was the “only mayoral candidate to stand up against [the] Orange County Needle Exchange Program in state review,” to state instead that “I stood up against [the] Orange County Needle Exchange Program in state review.”
Another portion Leece objected to — “Costa Mesa residents have the right to clean, open government and decisions free of cronyism; no backroom deals” — became “Costa Mesa residents have the right to clean, open government.”
The revised statement also tweaks a section header so it no longer refers to Genis as the “only candidate” who took actions such as voting against a “high-density 2015 general plan” and a “56 unit/acre, costly for taxpayers (over $1,500,000) Motor Inn project.”
In her petition, Leece alleged that the disputed passages misstated Foley’s votes and public statements, contained inaccurate information and violated a provision of state elections code that “prohibits statements that make reference to another candidate’s character or activities.”
The settlement, Leece said, is “a good agreement.”
“It’s time for everyone to get back to work solving problems and working on projects which make Costa Mesa a great city,” she wrote in an email.
Genis said she agreed to remove items “that might be interpreted as targeted at another candidate,” even though she’s “not conceding that they were.”
“I do, however, stand by the factual accuracy of my statement,” she said. “I do have documentation to support everything in there, and there is no question about the factual matters contained in my statement.”
Candidate statements are printed in the Voter Information Guide, also known as the sample ballot, but are not printed on the final ballot.
Genis, a Mesa Verde resident, and Foley, who lives in Mesa del Mar, are facing off in the Nov. 6 election to become the first Costa Mesa mayor directly chosen by voters rather than selected among council members.
August 10, 2018
Costa Mesa council candidates are raking in campaign dollars
Luke Money, Reporter, Daily Pilot
Costa Mesa’s municipal elections will look decidedly different this year than they have before, with voters for the first time casting ballots directly for mayor and choosing council representatives based on where they live in the city.
What’s unchanged, though, is that the campaign season is shaping up to be a big-bucks affair.
Here’s a look at the fundraising activity for the latest campaign disclosure period from Jan. 1 to June 30. Total contributions include cash and non-monetary donations. Figures are rounded to the nearest dollar and candidates are listed alphabetically by the position they are seeking.
Total contributions received: $67,584
Expenditures made: $20,185
Beginning cash balance: $16,026
Ending cash balance: $49,365
Foley, a current council member, has amassed a significant war chest in the race to become Costa Mesa’s first directly elected mayor.
Her haul includes donations of $10,000 from the Orange County Employees Assn., $5,000 from Sanderson J. Ray Corp., a developer in Newport Beach, and $2,500 from Carol Alderete, a certified public accountant.
Foley said she’s “definitely ramped up” her fundraising this year and is particularly pleased with the number of small-dollar donations for her campaign.
“I have contributors who are donating $10 and $5 a month online, and those donations, which are hundreds, they translate directly into votes,” she said.
The other mayoral contender, current Mayor Sandy Genis, did not have financial documents on file with the city clerk’s office as of Friday. She announced her bid last month, after the close of the latest filing period.
State Streets resident Al Melone also had said he would run for the post but wrote in an email Thursday that he had decided against it.
Includes College Park, Mesa del Mar and a portion of the upper Eastside
Total contributions received: $4,447
Expenditures made: $574
Beginning cash balance: $3,789
Ending cash balance: $7,713
The numbers for Eckles, a former member of the city Parks and Recreation Commission, include $850 from a campaign account for former longtime council member Gary Monahan and $500 each from Jeff Mathews, owner of Arden Limited Partnership, John Stellar, who works in real estate, and attorney Mac Cabal.
“I’m extremely grateful to have received a broad range of generous support,” Eckles said. “I am humbled by individuals who have put their trust and confidence in me to be our City Council member representing District 3.”
Total contributions received: $14,283
Expenditures made: $7,146
Beginning cash balance: $8,130
Ending cash balance: $15,267
Among the largest donors for Marr, a member of the city’s Cultural Arts Committee, were the Generation Change and Orange County Employees Assn. political action committees, both of which gave $1,000, and Eastside LLC, a Corona del Mar-based entity that wrote an $875 check.
“We have been running a positive, resident-focused campaign about public safety, effective sober-living home regulation and making Costa Mesa safer for cyclists and pedestrians,” Marr said. “This funding allows us to get our message out to every single resident of District 3.”
Another declared candidate for the seat, Teresa Drain, did not have financial paperwork on file with the city clerk’s office as of Friday.
Dense Westside pocket south of the Fairview Developmental Center, ranging from Harbor Boulevard west to Monrovia Avenue and south to West 17th Street
Total contributions received: $9,441
Expenditures made: $1,792
Beginning cash balance: $0
Ending cash balance: $8,569
So far, Chavez is the only candidate in the district who has reported any fundraising activity.
His largest single contribution in the latest filing period came from Eastside LLC, which donated $875. He also received $700 from Ulwelling Siddiqui LLP — a Costa Mesa-based law firm — and $500 from the campaign committee of former congressional candidate Laura Oatman.
Chavez said he thinks the number of donations he’s received “shows we’re building broad support, both locally and countywide” and demonstrates “a strong grassroots campaign.”
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support over the past months for my campaign from my family members, my former teachers, mentors at SOY [Save Our Youth], electeds like Katrina [Foley] and John [Stephens] and many more,” he said.
The other candidates in the district are Steve Chan and Michelle Figueredo-Wilson.
Wraps around District 4, taking in downtown and the remainder of the Westside .
Total contributions received: $32,209
Expenditures made: $3,818
Beginning cash balance: $0
Ending cash balance: $28,391
Though he only recently entered the District 5 race, Mansoor, the current mayor pro tem, has access to a bankroll built during his abandoned run for mayor.
The amount from his Mansoor for Mayor 2018 campaign committee includes $3,000 from Nedrick McCune, property manager for Mariners Mile, $2,500 from West-Tech Materials executive Richard Campo and $1,500 each from Precision Optical and Sam Rahimian, vice president of Rahimian Management Corp., or RMC.
“I’m confident that I will have sufficient resources to run a successful campaign,” Mansoor said.
Total contributions received: $19,840
Expenditures made: $2,739
Beginning cash balance: $0
Ending cash balance: $17,251
The fundraising total for Reynolds — vice chairwoman of the Parks and Recreation Commission — includes $1,000 contributions from Olga Reynolds, escrow officer Mary Howard and attorney Michael Reynolds. She also received $875 from Eastside LLC.
“Our fundraising represents the broad support and new energy we have in the community, with more than 300 unique donors and many people who are first-time campaign donors. People are excited about change,” Arlis Reynolds said in an email.
The other candidate in the district, Rebecca Trahan, did not have fundraising information on file with the city clerk’s office as Friday.
September 11, 2018
Why Katrina Foley should become Costa Mesa's first directly elected mayor
After years of people in the community working to form a coalition of voters — Republicans, Democrats, third parties and independents — Sandy Genis ran for election and won with the support and hard work of that group.
The coalition wanted a government that served the residents, not out-of-town interests or a political machine. Her campaign slogan in 2016 was “Leadership We Can Trust.”
When the new City Council was seated in 2016, Genis nominated Councilwoman Katrina Foley as mayor and voted in favor of Foley’s appointment.
But then a year later, Genis formed a new alliance with the very political machine that we worked so hard to defeat. Genis chose to tear apart the coalition by voting to unseat Foley as mayor in late 2017.
We have never received the promised explanation of why she betrayed so many of her supporters. The result is now the city is falling backward into divisiveness.
Recently, Genis submitted a candidate statement that was alleged to be false and misleading in places and confusing even to those who are familiar with city matters. The lack of clarity in that statement would certainly baffle the average voter and would require much research to understand its meaning.
Genis sought to have her offending statement, i.e., campaign hit piece, published and disseminated by the Registrar of Voters to every voter in Costa Mesa. A publication from a government source needs to be accurate because it is thought to have more credibility than one from a private party, and therefore should not be used to disparage an opponent.
Had former Councilwoman Wendy Leece not filed a petition to get Genis’ candidate statement revised, the burden would have been on Foley to refute those statements at great expense. We should all be grateful that Leece set aside her friendship with Genis to pursue truth and clarity for the citizens of Costa Mesa.
Genis seems to think there should be no consequence to her actions. But there are consequences, and her actions have led many of us to feel that our trust has been betrayed. We elected her to work with all City Council members to represent us in city matters, not to participate in the power politics of the previous years.
So, who can be trusted to lead Costa Mesa forward? Foley did an excellent job when she was the appointed mayor. She is the only candidate for mayor who has stayed true to her principles and remained loyal to her supporters and Costa Mesa. It is clear to me that Foley is the candidate to trust.
August 31, 2018
Katrina Foley is good for small business
For over 10 years I have been a Costa Mesa resident and local business owner. Councilwoman Katrina Foley stands out to me as the only mayoral candidate who is fully engaged in the health and welfare of the thriving Costa Mesa small business community.
Foley takes phone calls and promptly answers questions. She links owners to the proper city channels, agencies and contacts so business owners can achieve the best results. Foley understands that encouraging vibrant small business is essential to the success of our city.
Foley has the depth of experience to see the big picture for a bright future for Costa Mesa. She is an effective, common-sense problem-solver and is aware of the complexities within many issues. She is inclusive, never engages in fear-mongering and is the only candidate I ever see out at public and business events.
City elections are supposed to be nonpartisan. Regardless of our political affiliation, let’s evaluate each mayoral and City Council candidate carefully and vote across party lines for the candidates best able to shape the most successful future for the great city of Costa Mesa.