Five candidates, including two incumbents, are running for three seats on La Habra’s City Council on Nov. 3.

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In addition to voting for new council members, residents will also decide the fate of two ballot measures. 

Measure W proposes to impose a “gross receipts tax up to 6% on commercial cannabis businesses” to fund municipal services, according to a city notice. Measure X would amend the La Habra general plan to require majority voter approval to change the designation of property labeled as open space.

Mayor Pro Tem Rose Espinoza and Councilman Tim Shaw are seeking reelection. The third open seat is up for grabs following Mayor Tom Beamish’s decision not to run. The remaining candidates include: Steve Simonian, Michael Navarro and Peter Cruz.

Shaw received the most contributions of all contenders this election with $64,525 collected between Jan. 1 and Oct. 17, according to his campaign finance disclosure form. 

First elected to City Council in 2008, Shaw has served as mayor twice. He was appointed chairman of the Orange County Transportation Authority board of directors in 2019, and in 2020 he was elected a trustee to the Orange County Board of Education, representing the fourth district, according to his biography.

Shaw argues that some of the challenges La Habra faces are the safety of its neighborhoods, the permanent solutions for homelessness, traffic, and the protection of taxpayer dollars “by spending them wisely,” according to his campaign website

In his candidate statement, Shaw said that his degree from George Washington University and experience as a professor of political science and member of City Council would help him lead the community out of the COVID-19 recession. He claimed to have done this previously with the city during the Great Recession. 

First elected to City Council in 2000, Espinoza has been reelected every four years since. She also served as mayor four times, according to her biography

During COVID-19, Espinoza said in her candidate statement, it was “essential to maintain assurance and calm in our community.”

Espinoza founded Rosie’s Garage, an afterschool program, in 1991 “out of concern for the growing gang activity and low educational attainment of children in her neighborhood,” her biography said. 

Simonian, a retired police chief and La Habra resident of 50 years, is “committed to making local government more efficient, responsive, and accountable to everyone,” according to his candidate statement.

Simonian received $43,910 in contributions for the period between Jan. 1 and Oct. 17, according to his campaign finance disclosure form. 

Navarro, a life skills coach, had fundraised $1,290 this year through Sept. 19, according to his campaign finance disclosure form. Navarro has not filed a candidate statement, according to Rhonda J. Barone, assistant city clerk. 

Cruz promises to address issues focused on housing crises, homelessness, public safety, park improvements, economic development, fiscal responsibility, and ethics, according to his campaign website. He also said in his candidate statement that the city must “design policies to protect businesses, homeowners, and residents.” 

Voting is still open and will conclude on Nov. 3. 


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