Foley recalled her time on the Planning Commission when Genis opposed the Ikea development off Harbor Boulevard near the San Diego (405) Freeway.

"I supported it," Foley says, "but what I valued is the community input that led to a better project. Sandy will always make sure the community has opportunities to chime in on projects."

*

Council members speak

Councilman Steve Mensinger, who received the second-most votes Nov. 6, campaigned on the "3Ms" slate, comprised of him, Councilman Gary Monahan and Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy.

But even though Genis and her slate — named the "Top 3" for its top-three random placement on the ballot, with attorney John Stephens and businessman Harold Weitzberg — campaigned against him, with the election over, Mensinger says it's time to get down to business.

"Ultimately, we have massive problems we need to address in this great city," he says.

Genis is an intelligent person, Mensinger says, and "once she gets a sense of the issues, I think we're closer to similar in the area of fiscal conservatism than not."

"I've been surrounded my whole life with land planners … I think her skills will be very beneficial," he adds.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer, who supported the 3Ms, says that while Genis wasn't his first choice, "She has a lot of great qualities for our council. She has eight years of previous experience on a council, she's been a mayor before and she understands planning."

He echoed Mensinger's view that there may be common ground on this council, namely fiscally conservative ideas. Genis, like the other four members of the council, is a Republican.

"We could find more agreement than some people would think," Righeimer says. "She'll be a great addition to the City Council, and I'm looking forward to working with her."

Councilwoman Wendy Leece, who supported Genis' campaign, calls her "another voice of reason to represent residents. We will be a great team to study issues carefully and then make decisions that are best for Costa Mesa."

"I know she is beholden to no one and to no agenda from outsiders," Leece says.

Talk about the reconstituted council by some political observers is that Leece — who has been the lone dissenter of many council votes for nearly two years — may align herself with Genis against the council majority, potentially creating 3-2 votes.

Both Leece and Foley countered the notion, however, saying it's too early to tell.

The next mayor — Eric Bever will be termed out when the new council is sworn in — will set the agenda for what the priorities are, as will city staff, Leece says.

"Honestly, I think that there's no guarantee that Wendy and Sandy will always agree," Foley says, adding that no one "should be in a box so early."

Adds Leece: "Sandy and I are in agreement with the value of residents' input, ideas, comments — we value and respect that. That's what makes our city a great city. We want to bring that element back. We want to restore that element into every City Council meeting."

Genis says she was on her fair share of 4-1 votes in her first council term.