By Collin Breaux | Email: email@example.com | Twitter: @collin_breaux
Howard Hart is one of two candidates running for the District 5 seat on the San Juan Capistrano City Council. The seat will be decided during the November general election. Hart is a planning commissioner for the city. He grew up in Dana Point and eventually settled in the Mesa Verde community. He is a retired Navy captain who worked in intelligence, and is active in the community through the Rotary Club of San Juan Capistrano and other ways.
Hart is motivated to run because of a belief in community service. He announced his campaign in January.
“For the last two years, I think we’ve achieved a civil city council and one that’s been very productive in a short amount of time,” Hart said. “I think there’s still more work to be done, and that’s why I’m running.”
Being on the planning commission, Hart is well-versed in zoning regulations, signage matters and other city government matters. Thirty years as a Navy officer also taught Hart the concept of servant leadership, which Hart defines as “subsuming your own personal interests to those of the greater good.”
“I’m not out to do this for myself,” Hart said. “I have no aspirations beyond this office. My goal is to serve my community, and to do it in the best way I can with each issue that comes before me.”
Hart is excited about preserving the Northwest Open Space through its specific plan, which recently passed through the planning commission. That essentially means no glamping or soccer fields at the San Juan preserve.
“We have the Verdugo Street beautification,” Hart said. “That was also one of the things we processed through the Planning Commission, and that came out even better than I expected.”
Hart anticipates the Ganahl Lumber Project—which is expected to bring a lumber hardware store and other economic activity along Stonehill Drive—becoming a big revenue generator, which in turn could facilitate road improvements. He likes San Juan because it has an identity with the downtown area, the historical aspect and its equestrian heritage. The equestrian culture is something Hart wants to preserve as a local official.
John Alpay is also running in the District 5 election.
The District 5 seat is currently held by Councilmember Brian Maryott, who is campaigning in the 49th Congressional District race against incumbent Mike Levin, which is also on the November ballot. The District 1 election was recently canceled by the city council, because incumbent Sergio Farias was running unopposed.