Meet Seal Beach’s Council Candidates

0
452

Editor’s note: Welcome to the the Seal Beach City Council elections for 2010.

In the coming weeks leading up to the election the Sun will be asking the candidates questions that are intended to show where they stand on the issues that affect the quality of life for the residents of the city.

This week the Sun asked the candidates simply to state why they believe they are the best candidate to be elected to the city council seat in their district. Their answers appear below.

The Sun is encouraging its readers to weigh in with questions of their own.

They may be sent by e-mail to dennis@sunnews.org. The Sun is committed to its policies of not endorsing any candidate and making every attempt to give each and every candidate a fair chance and equal time to all candidates, to state their case for how they will guide the city through the next four years. In order to accomplish this task the Sun will not publish letters to the editor endorsing candidates during the campaigns.

— Dennis Kaiser, Sun editor

Anne Seifert: District 5:

Leisure World

In almost any election, the best candidate for the job is the candidate who listens to the people she represents.  The best candidate represents those constituents in an effective, honest and forthright manner.  Many things count:  experience, intelligence, timing, knowledge of the facts, and leadership.

After receiving my Ph.D. from Berkeley, I worked for 38 years, either employed by government agencies or working with local governing boards and committees, representing the best interests of my community. And overseeing budgets up to $50,000,000.

Leisure World is a very special place, and one that most would agree is truly the greatest place to live!

Living in a cooperative, we are shareholders and as such, our community counts on participation from residents who care. Decisions by governing boards affect almost every shareholder.

In that sense we are all part and literally parcel of the same entity. That is why it is very important to select your Council representative carefully; your voice should be heard.

I believe in transparency in government: informing residents about what is on the table, giving time for review and input, and if at all possible reaching consensus on an issue. That is the ideal.

How many people in Leisure World know their Council representative supported 3-stories in Old Town?

And that 80% of voters in our district overwhelmingly rejected 3-stories?

How many people had a voice in the building of North Gate Road?

How many people will have a voice in the building of the freeway overpass?

I am the best candidate for District 5 because I listen to shareholder concerns.

I will encourage open discussion and forums.  I promise to serve you, to listen, and to lead. And I heard you: you want a food market.

– Anne Seifert

Michael Levitt: District 5:

Leisure World

We in Leisure World have learned, over the years that “experience counts.”  The more we do something, the better we do it.

I have represented you on the Seal Beach City Council for six years.  And I have gained that experience.

In serving as your City Councilman,  I’ve brought you special medical programs, showed you how to save money on auto insurance, improved your bike path, brought in Orange County inspectors to keep you safe from West Nile virus, got Caltrans to accommodate our special transportation needs, helped to lower your water bills, and ensured that the needs of Leisure World residents have been treated equally with all other Seal Beach residents.

It is with this same zeal and pride to serve and protect my neighbors, that I help guide the operation and future of Mutual 4.  As its president, I am in daily contact with my residents.  There isn’t a problem with Golden Rain or with City or County services that I don’t hear about.  And deal with. As promptly and effectively as possible.

My Council district is 100% Leisure World.  Every one of my constituents is a senior citizen. While I am sworn to consider the needs of ALL Seal Beach residents –and believe me, I do, having lived in Seal Beach for over thirty years — my Council vote will always be to protect the rights and the welfare of my seniors.

When you reelect me to the City Council on November 2, I will continue to protect you, my constituents. And equally important, for as long as I serve you on the City Council, no outsider will ever change a single thing about this marvelous place in which we live.  Leisure World will remain as it is: our home.

– Mike Levitt

Robert Aguilar: District 1:

Old Town and Surfside Colony

I’d like to start by saying thank you to the Sun Newspaper for offering this forum to candidates who wish to communicate with the voters regarding their platforms.

My name is Robert Aguilar, Jr. and I am running for the City Council seat in District 1, which includes Old Town and Surfside Colony.

The question this week asks, “Why do I feel I am the best candidate to represent my district?” And my answer is a simple one. Without question the Old Town district specifically is the busiest area within the Seal Beach city limits. All ages are represented here but a large majority of its residents are young active families with a desire to raise their children in a safe and clean community.

Downtown Seal Beach plays host to not only those loyal residents but to thousands of tourists each year, making our beach area one of the most popular in Orange County.

I am an active professional with a family who loves all that Seal Beach has to offer.

I’m also a resident with real concerns about issues such as parking and noise control, sidewalk safety on Main Street, beach cleanliness, merchant success, and homeowner rights.

Main Street and the Old Town district is literally my back yard. My family and I enjoy walks along Ocean Avenue and Main Street often, and I even proposed to my wife at the end of the Seal Beach pier almost 6 years ago. We frequent our local merchants for everything from toys at Knock Knock’s, to a Nick’s burrito.  This is our home. We are about to celebrate our 95th year as a city and my vision is for the next 95 years. Maintaining our small town appeal while allowing ourselves to grow with the times is my focus.

– Robert Aguilar

Ellery Deaton: District 1:

Old Town and Surfside Colony

I am the most qualified person to be Old Town and Surfside’s Councilmember because:

As Planning Commissioner for the past 8 years, I have listened, built consensus, and worked for Old Town and Surfside.  I know our community and know how to make hard decisions after listening to all sides and checking the facts.

For 4 years in a row, my peers have unanimously elected me Chairwoman of the Planning Commission because they respect my fairness, good judgment and ability to work with others.

Three sitting Councilmen have endorsed my candidacy because they know I’m open-minded, solicit and respect the opinions of others, do my homework, and work until the job gets done.

I come with no personal or political agendas and no conflicts of interests.  My only goal is to ensure that the quality of life in Old Town and Surfside is the best anywhere.  I’ve never run for higher office and have no interest in doing so. My heart is in Seal Beach.

Being retired, I can work full time on the issues important to our residents and businesses.

Finally, I have demonstrated I have the energy to dig deep, the ability to ask the right questions, the know-how to think critically and the follow through to see the job done when it comes to the important issues that impact our lives in District 1.

For 8 years I’ve worked to keep our small community the “last little unspoiled beach town in Southern California.”  You can count on me to continue honoring our unique village for the years to come.

Please join our neighbors and vote for me, Ellery Deaton on Nov. 2.

– Ellery Deaton

Joe Kalmick: District 1:

Old Town and Surfside Colony

Having recently retired after 30 years as Senior Officer of the Seal Beach Volunteer Firefighters, I would now like to continue my community service as a member of the City Council.

I have lived in Old Town for 38 years and have been fortunate to also work here, having owned Main St. Art & Framing since 1977.  Our children attended our local schools and participated in recreation department activities.

Over the years my customers have come in just to talk about the issues of the day; flooding and storm damage to the pier, the Bay City Center, the Hellman Ranch development, zoning issues, business on Main St., severe sand erosion in Surfside.

I believe that these interactions with the community for the past four decades have given me a broad perspective of the issues we have faced as well as the decisions that have been made by past councils.

I have owned homes and lived in every area of Old Town.  I have first- hand knowledge of the parking problems and flooding occurrences from 13th to 17th St., and have had to negotiate the narrow streets driving fire apparatus.  I’ve experienced flooding on the boardwalk, and done my share of sandbagging along the beach in Surfside.  I’ve also been a neighbor of Main St.

I want to bring a reasoned approach to decisions that need to be made in the coming years, and promise to seek input from all of our residents.  I will strive to be an informed councilman, and try to look beyond how council decisions may affect us just in the short term. Our building codes and ordinances should reflect our need to be good neighbors to each other.  The council must be good stewards of what makes Seal Beach such a unique place to live.

—Joe Kalmick

Scott Levitt: District 1:

Old Town and Surfside Colony

Elected officials need to have practical, real world experience to properly govern.

Seal Beach, specifically, Old Town and Surfside, have been straddled with councilpersons and planning commissioners who lack such experience.

The majority of the citizens in Old Town and Surfside are people working and struggling in the private sector.  They understand the need for a practical approach to specific problems.

I bring over 15 years experience in the private sector in the areas of law, finance, and real estate.  The two major issues concerning District One and the City as a whole, are land use (zoning issues) and budget constraints.  I have the education and the practical experience to see that sensible, balanced ideas are brought to the table to deal with these issues.  Having lived in Seal Beach for over thirty years, I know the struggles and conflicts that exist within the City.  And unlike the past representatives of District One, I will not push a personal agenda, but rather a philosophy of less governance and less regulation.

I will encourage and promote existing businesses to expand and encourage new businesses to open.  I will seek to preserve Seal Beach, and will vote against changing the existing zoning code proposal by the Planning Commission which over-regulates you, the property owner and downzones your property and freedoms.  Our City has spent too much time battling, when it is already a great town.  Over the past eight years, we have seen the personal agendas of its representatives cost this Town hundreds of thousands of dollars.  I am compelled to end this practice, and bring fair governance to Seal Beach by making decisions based on the laws, facts, and evidence.  I will seek to increase revenues, reduce costs, and preserve Seal Beach and the rights of the property and business owners.

—Scott Levitt

Amalia Almasy: District 3:

Hill, Bridgeport, Herron Pointe

What key influences come to mind when you think about our district?

The following are my three.

(1) Family atmosphere (2) Military presence (3)  Bus-iness Oriented. I would like to share with you my qualifications to connect these three together.

Whether you are strolling down Main Street with an ice cream in your hand, or dropping off a little one at school in the morning, a sense of family can be found in the Seal Beach air.  I have two daughters that both attend local public schools.  A 12-year old that attends McAuliffe and a 15-year old that attends Los Alamitos High.  Our district and city has a tremendous military presence. The 5,256-acre Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station, and the 920-acre Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge, comprises 2/3 of the land within our 13.23 square-mile City.  My husband is a Command Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army and I have been an army wife for over 20 years. I understand what it is like to have a spouse deployed overseas to serve our country and am also an active member of both the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary and Veteran of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary.  Assuring fiscal responsibility for our district is a top priority for me.  I am a self-employed businesswoman in the real estate & lending industry and have received numerous awards for my work, including Business Advisors Council Woman of the Year.

To be qualified is defined as “having the ability and experience necessary to perform a particular job or task.”  My name is Amalia Almasy.  I have never run or held an elected public position before.  But as a self-employed, full-time working mother of two and military wife for over 20 years my qualifications mirror the key influences that make District 3 such a special place to live.

—Amalia Almasy

Gordon Shanks: District 3:

Hill, Bridgeport, Herron Pointe

The best candidate for City Council is one who has proven leadership, knowledge of and understanding of the complicated issues facing our city, and the ability to lead.

Four years ago the voters of Seal Beach District Three elected me because I had proven that I could be a strong leader.

More needs to be done.  Strong leadership is needed to insure that Arco follow through on their commitment to dig and haul the gasoline contamination at Bridgeport homes.  Other important commitments include, the resurfacing of the McGaugh School and Marina Park tennis courts as well as slurry sealing of some Hill streets.

As your Councilman, because of my study and years of experience, I will be able to help guide the changes to the last two large properties of undeveloped land in Seal Beach.  The Cerritos Wetlands Conservancy is purchasing the Hellmann Ranch property as wetlands in perpetuity.  This will be an area that Seal Beach can be proud of.  The other large area is the DWP property at Marina and First Street. The DWP property has a Specific Plan calling for six acres of park funded and maintained by the developer. The owners want small lot housing and the city to purchase and maintain the park.  Close, informed, supervision is needed.

As a Mayor, Councilman and Planning Commissioner I have worked to maintain the beach, pier, and public parks.  I have always supported the lifeguards and recreational activities in the city.

My commitment to Seal Beach is to keep it Safe, Solvent and Small town.

—Gordon Shanks

Meet Seal Beach’s Council Candidates