"Sometimes when there's a single voice, it's easy to marginalize that voice," she says. "You can be tuned out."

But now?

"You can't really marginalize 40% of your city council," she says. "People will not like it."

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Upcoming plans

The budget is the big issue, Genis says, because saving money "on the little things" could lead to saving somebody's job.

"Do we have money going down a hole somewhere that would cause us to be short compared to other cities that don't have our economic resources?" she asks.

City CEO Tom Hatch says one of Genis' goals will be talking with him about the immediate issues that are on the plate.

"We're looking forward to working with Sandy to understand what she wants to accomplish and provide support and suggestions for how she and the council can accomplish their goals," he says.

Genis did express a belief, however, that residents get a good deal from the city, considering that most property tax collections benefit the school district, not the city.

"I think the city gives you a lot for what you're paying, for the most part," she says.

She is also against any privatization of public land and would not have supported an earlier effort to have a private company manage the TeWinkle Athletic Complex.

Then there's the issue of the city's Police and Fire departments with employee contracts, staffing and resources.

Negotiating a contract with the police association is something Leece specified as a priority that she wants to work on with Genis.

"Our No. 1 job is to keep our residents safe," Leece says. "That comes before potholes … I think we've got to be serious about an agreement with our Police Department so that we can move along and train new officers after the old ones retire."

Jim Fitzpatrick, a director on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District and president of the Costa Mesa Taxpayers Assn., says his organization looks forward to Genis' expertise on pensions and planning, the latter specifically for finding solutions on annual flooding of homes. He also says his grass-roots organization wants to work with her and others on enacting a city charter.

"It's logical to expect that the CMTA and residents can count on her to solve some of these problems," he says.

A sizable portion of Genis' support in the past election can be attributed to the Costa Mesans for Responsible Government, a grass-roots group that endorsed and campaigned for Genis.

CM4RG President Robin Leffler says Genis' "impeccable reputation" has helped fuel her long-standing profile into another victory.

"Anyone who knows her knows the truth," Leffler says. "My guess is the negative campaign against her backfired. Obviously, it didn't cost her a healthy lead, which may have surprised some people, but not me."

"She's really a straight-shooter," Leffler adds. "If you ask her a question or you want to know, she will tell you what she thinks. If it's any kind of political topic, she practically has an encyclopedia in her head."

And of Genis as a person?

"She's a good friend, and she's probably the most genuine person I know, and one of the most fun people I know."

bradley.zint@latimes.com

Twitter: @bradleyzint