Huntington Beach resident Tim Karpinski used to be one — like so many others — who never paid too much attention to city politics.
But one day’s revelation late last year changed that attitude.
Karpinski’s neighbor, Debbie Henigman, showed up at his front door with the blueprints to a plan that would scrap a peaceful nursery and allow up to 557 RVs in a parking lot just adjacent to their homes.
The news shocked Karpinski and other residents of the Aragon Circle neighborhood, in a southeastern part of the city, and it jolted them into action.
“It was a big wake-up call to everybody,” Karpinski said.
The residents waged a forceful opposition campaign. They held regular meetings and organized a lobbying effort at City Hall that wound up convincing the Huntington Beach City Council to vote down the plan.
But they had help from someone who was part of the process. Early in the fight, Planning Commissioner Blair Farley advised them on how to beat the RV lot entrepreneur, who had a well-connected consultant.
Farley is now running for one of four open council seats, and the residents of the neighborhood haven’t forgotten what he did for them.
In a display of support and appreciation for Farley and his slate, Team Huntington Beach, Karpinski organized a neighborhood block party and invited Farley, Connie Boardman and Joe Shaw.
The party included hamburgers and a cooler full of beer, but also a two-hour discussion of politics and the issues facing the city. It was an unusual event for the neighborhood, but perhaps a sign of things to come.
The residents of Aragon Circle and Mariners Point Mobile Home Park have learned that involvement in local government is important, and Karpinski and his neighbors have been in tune since their hard-fought victory earlier this year.
“It just goes to show you the things that could happen without you paying attention,” Karpinski said.