Note to readers: The Orange County Tribune is posting the results of questionnaires sent to candidates for city office in Garden Grove, Huntington Beach and Westminster as a public service. These are not paid political ads and do not imply endorsement. They are being posted in the order in which they are received.
Name: Mark Rolfes
Office Being Sought: Huntington Beach City Council
City of Residence: Huntington Beach
Occupation: Vice President of Sales, Pelican Products, Inc.
Family: Spouse: Dominque, Son: Matthew age 19, Daughter: Anna age 15
Education: Bachelor of Science, Towson State University
Other Public Service: Currently sit on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles City Fire Foundation
Why do you want to run for this office?
In the 19 years that Dominique, Matthew, Anna and I have lived in Huntington Beach we have seen a great coastal community change like the tides. A great majority of residents want Huntington Beach to keep its charm and Surf City moniker while there are others that believe High Density Housing Developments and regulations that slow or prevent businesses from being successful are needed. There are so many issues that have arisen over the last few years that there are almost too many to count. Included are transparency of government. As taxpayers we have a right to know what the City Council is doing with our dollars.
As a result, I’ve decided to run for a seat on the City Council of Huntington Beach. A few incumbents on the current Council members are largely responsible for the issues that currently plague our great City. It’s time for change and fresh start. I am committed to making that change happen.
I am committed to bringing positive change to both Huntington Beach and adjacent Sunset Beach and accomplishing this by listening to the people. Some of my other goals are improved public safety, the maintenance and well-being of our parks and increased support to improve our schools.
My qualifications to be part of the City Council include proven success in business as Vice President of Sales at Pelican Products, Inc. I’ve been with Pelican for 19 years and built a highly successful track record of steady growth, business development and participating in an active business acquisition strategy. I currently serve on the LA City Fire Department Foundation Board, where our mission is to find funding to deliver state of the art tools and safety to firefighters. City budget shortfalls have driven the need for the Foundation to fill in where tax dollars fall short. This experience has helped me understand how important it is to stretch every tax dollar.
What do you think are the major issues facing your city and what would you do about them?
High Density Development, Pensions, Small Business and Public Safety
-High Density Building views:
I have clearly stated several times that I am anti-HDD. I understand the logic behind HDD’s but this doesn’t work in Huntington Beach and as a result I am opposed to further HDD. The problem with HDD in Huntington Beach is that our city is more spread out than other cities that have embraced HDD such as Dallas or Chicago, cities where you can quickly get to the business district with inexpensive public transportation, biking or walking. Huntington Beach is a larger area and as a result there is a higher probability that HDD residents will be more apt to own automobiles. Continuing effort needs to be made to stop the State from mandating the type and amount of development built in Huntington Beach.
Again, the city has to be able to pay down a percentage of the pension fund. As stated earlier, between 2016 and 2021 the city of Huntington Beach is slated to realize a 67% increase in the pension fund amounts to be paid out. That has to be funded somehow. Letting it go is a recipe for disaster and will ruin this city for the next several generations of citizens. Even paying a portion of it could make a massive difference in our debt burden. I personally would like to explore the possibility of a partial funding of a pension plan. Over time and if done correctly this could help lower the burden of unfunded plans and protect the city from unforeseen circumstances. We have an aging population and as a rule of thumb, if the city is less than 10% funded then we are at risk of a major shortfall.
It is now the norm for businesses in Southern California to consider leaving the area/state to survive. Medium to large businesses are designing contingency plans for moving if their operating expenses don’t improve. Our local businesses are victims of overreaching regulations, high taxes and excessive inspections. It is our responsibility as a City Council to find business related spending cuts and reduce the amount of regulations that hinder business owner’s success. These efforts would also work to entice new businesses into our fine city.
Huntington Beach is still one of the safest cities in the United States. The City made great choices in bringing on Chief Handy and Chief Segura to run our Police & Fire Departments. As in most cities there is a ‘rub’ between the public and the unions when speaking to contract negotiations and budget allocations. Our City Council needs to work harder with the emergency services improve technology. Example: schools in the OVSD are open targets to issues. They lack security. There is a need for studier perimeter fencing, surveillance cameras and campus security. Yes, this may be the responsibility of the school district but, it will be our emergency services who will be responding in time of need. The same goes for the downtown business district where almost 75% of crimes are petty thefts. This goes back to the need for additional focus on technological advancement and infrastructure.
What else would you like to add?
In Baltimore I owned a restaurant and in Southern California I sit on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles City Fire Department Foundation. Our mission at the Foundation is to protect life, property, and the environment by providing essential equipment, training, and public outreach programs to supplement where city resources fall short. My primary responsibility with the Foundation is to promote and sell our mission and secure funding from donors within the community. At Pelican Products I have overseen the exponential growth of the company via a combination of sales growth, product expansion, acquisitions and global diversification over the last 19 years. In my role as head of sales I have daily interaction with the U.S. Federal Government as well as local fire and police departments nationwide. I understand the budgeting, purchasing and grant process as well as union interaction and contract mediations and negotiations. I bring a wealth of business knowledge to the Council and very confident that I will make a very quick and positive impact on the City of Huntington Beach.
Categories: Politics & Elections