She's had it for about 20 years, with most of the work in Southern California.

"I get a sense of how a lot of different cities do things," she says.

Which brings her to the topic of business licenses: It might be better to raise the city's fee on larger businesses, she says.

"It's not going to affect their decision on whether or not to locate in Costa Mesa," she says. "If you're a multimillion-dollar business, you're not going to say, 'I'm not going South Coast Plaza because I'm going to have to pay an extra 50 bucks for my business license.'"

Throughout the interview, she rarely sugar-coats an opinion. She later elaborates that she's never been one to "shy away from taking positions on difficult issues."

That extends to an election prank on some of her campaign signs. A person, or groups of people, replaced the G in her last name with a P.

The result? "Sandy Penis for City Council."

That was just one part of a rough election, Genis says, but she laughs at that particular effort. Still, she can't help but analyze how it may have been accomplished.

"Whoever did it, it obviously wasn't a kid just passing by," she says. "They collected a bunch of signs. They painted over the G, so they had to use at least one coat of paint … then they had to let them dry. Then they had to repaint them and redistribute them.

"It wasn't a spur-of-the-moment thing. Somebody really took a lot of time to do that."

She didn't like the blatant disregard for the city's sign ordinance this year, but she brings up the idea of perhaps changing the rules.

"The police have better stuff to do than get our signs," she says. "The press has better stuff to do than listen to us whine about our signs."

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Previous council terms

Genis counts her major accomplishments during her previous years on the City Council as always balancing the budget, riding out the 1990s recession while still increasing the city's reserves, working collaboratively with city employees, and urging that the city pull its money out of Orange County's investment pool prior to its bankruptcy in 1994.

She also was proud when the city bought the Jack R. Hammett Sports Complex, then known as "The Farm" Sports Complex.

"Immediately, my reaction was we have to buy it," she says. "They're not making any more land, and we have an opportunity to buy this."

She also pushed for expanding the talk of building the Senior Center to actually building one in 1992.

"Either we need to actually take the action, or stop talking about taking the action," Genis recalls.

She also worked on a two-year effort to update the city's General Plan.