2020 Costa Mesa Mayor

Costa Mesa will vote to elect its mayor on Nov. 3, with the electee set to serve a two-year term.

The incumbent Katrina Foley is challenged by four other candidates. The following profiles serve as introductions to the candidates’ platforms, and how they could impact Orange Coast College.

Costa Mesa Mayor

Candidate: Katrina Foley

Why are you running for this office?

If reelected, Foley “will continue the work to keep our community healthy and recover our economy. I will keep working to provide more affordable housing, solutions to homelessness, and to create jobs that create a pathway to the middle class and beyond,” Foley said in an email. “I will continue to lead in the area of sustainability with initiatives like electric vehicle charging stations near apartments, community choice energy, and non-toxic pest and weed abatement. I will keep striving for equity and social justice.”

What qualifies you for this office?

Foley was Costa Mesa’s first directly-elected mayor in 2018, and has been on the Costa Mesa City Council for 12 years. 

She previously served on the Newport Mesa Unified School District Board of Trustees from November 2010 to November 2014, and is president of The Foley Group, a professional law corporation in Newport Beach.

Why would an OCC student vote for you?

In regards to Orange Coast College, Foley understands the reality of being a student. 

“As the only mom of sons in college on the ballot, one at OCC, I know first hand the needs of our students right now today,” Foley said in an email. “I understand the issues related to balancing the cost of housing, tuition, books and materials, and working jobs that barely cover the monthly expenses.”

How can I find more information about your candidacy?

More information on Foley can be found on her website

 

Candidate: Sandra Genis

Why are you running for this office?

Genis is focused on government accountability and addressing fiscal responsibility. From her candidate statement Leece wrote, “it won’t matter how great any solutions are if the city’s broke. Stop waste and target limited funds to community needs, not just wants. Necessities come first.”

“If our finances are not in order, if we are strapped for cash, then it doesn't matter what we want to do. It always takes money,” Genis said in an email.

What qualifies you for this office?

Genis first served on the Costa Mesa City Council from 1988 to 1996, before being elected again in 2012. 

“Sandy's long track record includes protecting our Costa Mesa neighborhoods, providing top-notch public safety, and her work to save the Orange County Fairgrounds,” written in her profile for city council.

Why would an OCC student vote for you?

In regards to students, “I believe the same things that would assist [them] would be the same things that any resident would be looking for – decent housing, good city services, and well maintained infrastructure like streets and parks,” Genis said in an email.

How can I find more information about your candidacy?

More information on Genis can be found at her Facebook page.

 

Candidate: Wendy Leece

Why are you running for this office?

“I am running for mayor as a No Party Preference candidate because I have the leadership skills to unify our city after the many years of partisan politics which has divided us,” Leece said in an email. “City council, school board, sanitary and water boards are all nonpartisan offices. I owe no favors to unions, developers, outside interests. I want to serve the residents.”

What qualifies you for this office?

Leece has resided in Costa Mesa for almost fifty years, and during that time has served on the Newport Mesa Unified School District School Board, City Parks and Recreation Commision, and city council. 

“I have the experience and skills necessary to make cuts to the budget and look for more resources,” Leece said in an email.

Why would an OCC student vote for you?

With a background in education Leece believes her experience “gives [her] a broad understanding of the challenges young people face in our community,” Leece said in an email. “Young people are America’s future and as mayor, I will welcome them at city hall and listen to their ideas and solutions for our city’s problems.”

How can I find more information about your candidacy?

More information on Leece can be found on her website.

 

Candidate: Al Melone

Why are you running for this office?

According to his campaign statement, Melone dedicates his candidacy to the pets of Costa Mesa.

He plans to implement a coyote population control program if elected, as “urban coyotes continue to flourish at the expense of cats and small dogs,” Melone wrote in his candidate statement. “Our city is essentially a sanctuary for coyotes.”

In addition to pets, Melone also raises concerns about veterans suffering from PTSD in regards to the city’s firework policy. 

What qualifies you for this office?

According to reporting from the Daily Pilot, Melone ran for Costa Mesa City Council in 2012, 2014 and 2016. He served on the city’s Finance and Pension Advisory Committee and was a member of a Pension Oversight Committee. He is a retired certified public accountant. 

Why would an OCC student vote for you?

Melone did not respond to Coast Report inquiries to address this specific question.

How can I find more information about your candidacy?

More information on Melone can be found on the Costa Mesa website.

 

Candidate: Quentin Pullen

Why are you running for this office?

The campaign, titled “Q the People,” is “a rally call to our community. The time for complacency and standing on the sidelines is done. Building a strong community is a combined effort, not just the job of a mayor and the council,” Pullen said in an email. 

His mission is to “create synergy” between Costa Mesa leadership and residents, financial fitness for the people and city, address safety concerns and build a safe community, improve the experience of parks and shared spaces, and increase community events and attractions.

What qualifies you for this office?

“Although new to politics, I have been preparing all my life to be in position to represent you as mayor of our city, Costa Mesa,” Pullen wrote on his website.

Pullen is a dual service military veteran who served in both the Marine Corps and the Navy Reserve. He is also a business owner and certified personal trainer, operating Body By Q Fitness.

“The Marine Corps taught me not only how to lead, but how to work with diverse groups of people toward a common goal,” Pullen said in an email. “Service, and striving to be better, is in my blood.”

Why would an OCC student vote for you?

Pullen is the only mayoral candidate currently enrolled as a student at OCC. He is not currently taking classes this semester due to COVID-19 concerns and to focus on his campaign, but said both he and his wife want to continue to educate themselves and plan to enroll in a theater course.

Pullen said in an email that he wants to “make sure that the businesses in our community communicate their needs to our community college so that we are training our residents for the jobs available in our city.” 

How can I find more information about your candidacy?

More information on Pullen can be found on his website.

 

 

 

Sarah Guidroz also contributed to this story.

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