Since he’s got virtually no chance at the Top Two in next month’s primary election for 74th District Assembly, this year’s Huntington Beach Mayor Matthew Harper is pushing a monumentally clever strategy to leverage his mayoral title into its own election as a separate office. Per the Huntington Beach Independent two days ago: Harper wants city to vote on chance to elect the mayor.
Like many Orange County cities, HB rotates their mayoral title annually amongst the sitting council members. The position is largely ceremonial, holds the council meeting gavel, but has no additional voting power or political influence in city matters (and especially in this one that’s really run by the former 12-year city manager of San Bernardino who doesn’t know why they’re going bankrupt). But the title looks good on a resume, or campaign mailer to low-information voters. And the fancy name badge really wows the Scout troops.
Harper, a DUI Awardee, is running against two Republican heavyweights for the 74th, Emanuel Patrascu (Travis Allen’s 72nd Assembly District Director) and former Newport Beach Mayor, CAHSR fan and fire ring preventer Keith Curry, and an unknown, recently converted Democrat hoping to suck up any Democrat votes in the District.
Harper once worked for Supervisor Janet Nguyen, and parlayed the position into a well-paying job at the OC Trash Agency managing their public relations effort. Unfortunately, his first task there was not to explain why the Agency needed a PR flak. OC Trash is frequently used to park party- and 5th floor-loyal county employees (no trouble makers allowed) while they’re looking for their next real job. It works out pretty well as the County’s current CEO came out of this dump.
Harper’s notion was commented upon by fellow Councilmember, plastic bag and fireworks foe Boardman:
Councilwoman Connie Boardman said she hasn’t heard any resident asking for an elected mayor and that a change wasn’t voted on during the city’s charter review four years ago. “This is not something that I think the citizens are clamoring for,” she said. “The people that have expressed interest in it in the past are council members, because they want another office to run for when they’re termed out.”
Even for a liberal, Boardman’s smart enough to have figured it out (this time).
We also wonder why Harper, if he ever became an elected Mayor, would want to be lumped in with the rogues gallery of Orange County All-
Star Stinker Mayors like Margie Rice, Curt Pringle, Larry Agran, Beth Krom, Troy Edgar, Don Bankhead, Dick Jones, Sandra Genis and Miguel Pulido?
Harper’s strategy is transparent nonsense. It’s time for him to find a real job.