Tony James Carter, a first-time candidate for Huntington Beach City Council, has articulated clear views on the senior center, downtown policing and other issues.
But when voters click on his campaign website, it may be his enigmatic language that grips them most.
The contents of Carter's online home, http://www.funkyonion.com, read like a hybrid of political discourse and Beat poetry.
On humility in politics: "Might you know why we cannot get rid of the penny? A: This coin represents the core of our country's greatness; the coin is our lowest form of physical currency, it represents honesty and humbleness. The coined president is the only one facing to the right, hmm."
On leadership: "Do not believe me. In fact, do not believe anyone. Watch the motives that people demonstrate, and align yourself with those whose actions best agree with your own."
On aging gracefully: "Only the good die young. I will say that I intend to turn in my own 'bag of bones' all used up, well worn, and aged well."
The 39-year-old, who works as a door repair and installation contractor with Doorsmith Inc., believes in meshing philosophy with politics. As far as he's concerned, that approach keeps with the tradition of the Founding Fathers.
"They designed the foundation of our country on philosophy," he said Tuesday. "It became great."
Carter is one of the more obscure contenders in a race involving incumbent Councilman Devin Dwyer, former Mayors Jill Hardy and Dave Sullivan, and several planning commissioners. With a limited budget, Carter has enlisted casual acquaintances to help him paint campaign signs at the park, and he encourages residents to invite him to their homes if they want to hear more about his views.
One of the last candidates to enter the race, Carter began with his sights set high. As he was preparing his run for council, he also tried to get his name on the ballot as a write-in candidate for president of the United States. He missed the deadline for that, but says he would have tried to persuade Huntington officials to let him do both jobs if elected.
"All the trends start on the West Coast," he said, grinning.
As for his view on that coastal region?
Carter favors building the new senior center in Huntington Central Park, which he considers an important development and also a salute to the city's elders. He opposes the Poseidon desalination plant on environmental grounds. And he'd like to start a program in which officers patrol downtown Huntington Beach on horseback to better direct traffic.
A Michigan native, Carter grew up as the son of a Marine. He later relocated to Southern California, where he developed a love of sportfishing. After marrying and having his first of two sons, he went into door repair to better provide for his family.
Carter, who is now divorced, says money is not his motivation in running for office — and neither is power. Rather, he views politics as a civic responsibility, and he admits that he's still learning the nuts and bolts of it. Still, he's enjoyed the process.
"It's been exhilarating — one of the most interesting parts of my life," he said. "Meeting genuine people, checking myself, looking for other people's opinions and learning history ... it's been fascinating."