Redondo Beach voters have been casting ballots for two weeks now, and on March 2 the city could have a new mayor and city attorney.
Incumbent Mayor Bill Brand believes that a proven leader should oversee the new things coming to Redondo Beach in the next four to five years.
"There's a lot of great things on the horizon in Redondo Beach in the next four years," said Brand, who has been mayor for four years and on council for eight.
Brand looks forward to driving real change that's consistent with what the community wants, he said, not just what appeases developers in terms of revitalization of the Artesia/Aviation corridor as well as the city's waterfront, and permanently retiring the AES power plant.
"'Revitalize, not supersize' has been my charge for 20 years as an activist and public official," he said. "There's a lot of opportunity in Redondo Beach to reimagine and redevelop without turning us into Santa Monica."
If re-elected, he wants to get the best public use out of the land under those power lines once they're removed, Brand said, and also plans to continue fighting state legislature's push for multi-residential development in neighborhoods with single family homes. Brand also plans to maintain police and fire services, he said, as well as make sure Metro considers alternatives to extending its green line through Redondo's residential neighborhoods.
"It's going to take strong leadership from the city to make sure that doesn't happen," Brand said. "It's important that Redondo Beach has a strong voice at these regional discussions."
Fellow candidate Chris Voisey, however, said that the city first needs to map out clear plans for upcoming projects. Current and previous leadership has been advocating to make the Artesia/Aviation corridor pedestrian friendly and remove the power plant for years; Voisey believes that those things have yet to happen though, because there's no vision, he said.
"Change is not a dirty word," Voisey said, "And I think a lot of people are afraid of that." "I've heard that everybody is afraid of losing the beachy feel; we can work with change and keep that feel, but we also have to compromise."
If elected, Voisey also plans to use his expertise from working in the technology industry to keep the community better versed on what's happening with city government, he said. He may introduce a regular newsletter from city hall, he added, to remind residents about specifics in things like the leaf blower ban and how to easily locate city resources.
Michael Ian Sachs said he's running because he wants to help people. He ran for mayor of Redondo Beach in 2017, when he retired from his job with Chevron.
Making city building more environmentally sound, ensuring respectful debate on the dais and getting money out of politics are among the issues Sachs said he wants to highlight. He doesn't spend a bunch of campaign funds on mailers, he added, but always reaches out to residents on social media and responds to every email and text.
The mayor's role, Sachs said, is to be an arbitrator, supporter of businesses and always be available to answer to residents.
"Unfortunately the city has been split (based on) different views on development, housing and traffic; I'm offering up a clean slate," Sachs said.
Everybody has valid arguments about our city's issues, he added, and solving those issues requires balancing those concerns. Giving the people different options and facilitating compromise are the keys to finding a way forward, Sachs said.
For example, he said, Sachs would deploy a certain district's council representative to find out what residents who would be most affected by a project want.
If elected, Hartman plans to be a megaphone for the community's most vulnerable people, she said, those who feel they don't have a voice. She wants to make people feel they're a part of something bigger than them during a time when many may feel lonely and not able to stay involved in city business.
Hartman is also focused on addressing mental health and leading the community with compassion and love.
"That's a major player for me," said Hartman, who's been a resident a little over a year. "If we don't have a healthy community, everything else fails; we need to make sure we're paying close attention to the mental health of everybody."
Some ways she plans to do so is through a podcast called "The Connection" in which community members can speak about their experiences to show how everyone is the same despite their differences, she said, as well as collaborate with yoga instructors to offer sessions for residents; and with the South Bay-based Lisa's Garden Therapy to create a community garden and teach lessons about what grows there.
"Whether I win or not," Hartman said, "The universe wanted me to run to shake up the community, bring more light and love."
Harden Sooper is running to replace long-time city attorney Michael Webb. His goal, Sooper said, is to keep the city safe while spending less money on legal costs and staying accountable to residents.
Sooper, a deputy district attorney, said he will bring his experience in public safety to do so.
Webb has won re-election for more than a decade without opposition for more than a decade.
Sooper is also chair of the Redondo Beach Public Safety Commission, a neighborhood watch block captain, and was previously on the Redondo Beach Police Department Community Engagement Board.
Voisey has received $421 in campaign contributions, spent $4,270 and has $718 of campaign funds on hand, including a $297 beginning balance, according to most recent financial statements.
Brand has received $8,097 in contributions, spent $38,142 and $4,263 on hand.
Sachs has not received campaign contributions, and Hartman's statements are not available. Candidates will next file updated financial statements on Thursday, Feb.18.