By Jim Tortolano/Garden Grove Journal
The catchphrase “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over” applies to the Garden Grove City Council election.
While the vote-counting is completed, the process of selecting who will serve on the council isn’t.
That’s because when Councilman Bruce Broadwater was chosen mayor, it created an opening on the city council that will have to be filled by the other four members of the panel.
“I don’t know which way it’s going to go,” said Broadwater, who won 57 percent of the vote in a four-way race for mayor. “I haven’t talked to any of my colleagues on the council.”
Steve Jones won re-election to the council, and the second spot was taken by newcomer Chris Phan. Appointed incumbent Kris Beard finished fourth behind Phat Bui.
Garden Grove voters in the 1990s approved an advisory measure urging the council to appoint the next-highest vote-getter in such a case, which would be Bui in this case.
But Broadwater doesn’t necessarily go along with that. “I’m split on that issue,” he said. “Three times I voted to appoint the next-highest and three times I voted for someone else. I want someone who will work with the rest of the council. I sure won’t vote for another Bob Dinsen.”
Dinsen was a long-serving councilman who was appointed, then re-elected several times. He consistently opposed the city’s redevelopment efforts and was often on the short end of 4-1 votes.
“The thing is,” said Broadwater, “I don’t know anything about these two guys,” referring to Phan and Bui. “Phan ran a very positive campaign and that’s good, but I don’t really know where he stands on the issues. The same with Bui.”
Broadwater expects the council to follow what has become standard procedure in filling the seat. That means inviting letters and applications and choosing a candidate after giving each a chance to address the council.
If Bui were appointed, it would give Garden Grove three Vietnamese-American city council members – Phan, Bui and incumbent Dina Nguyen.
Aside from filling out the council, Broadwater is focusing on helping the city to balance its books. “We had a $4 million deficit,” he said. “We now have a $2.5 million deficit now that Measure Y has passed. “ That’s the increase in the hotel visitor’s tax.
“We’ve got to find a way to close that gap. I think we will. When all the hotels come on line, I know we will,” he said, referring to several large projects planned for Harbor Boulevard.
Once the black ink overcomes the red ink, he is looking towards building a second city gymnasium and “a large swimming pool,” perhaps even an aquatic center. He is also a supporter of proposals to run a street-car line from Santa Ana to Garden Grove that could at some point connect the Santa Ana civic center area to Harbor Boulevard.
“You have to understand that I’m a railroad guy,” he said. “I worked for a railroad for seven years. I think it would be a great thing.”