At this point in Costa Mesa history, we need strong leaders who can take effective steps to heal our city. Therefore Costa Mesans for Responsible Government (CM4RG) recommends the top three City Council Candidates on the Costa Mesa Ballot: John Stephens, Harold Weitzberg and Sandy Genis.

They are the Top Three Candidates in more ways than ballot order. Each has unique accomplishments, skills and knowledge, and the desire to serve all Costa Mesans well. They have no other political agenda.

CM4RG is a non-partisan grassroots organization of Costa Mesa residents formed to encourage excellence and accountability in our city Government. Our members endorsed these candidates after an extensive interview process.

John, Harold and Sandy are fiscal conservatives who share CM4RG's mission. They will earn your trust, not undermine it like the incumbents have done. They will treat other council members, residents and employees with respect and civility.

Their plan of action would enable a citizen's commission to explore a charter that is much more worthy of Costa Mesa's support; end runaway legal fees spent on $495/hour lawyers who have lost at every turn; and stop wasting taxpayer dollars on an avoidable lawsuit caused by the bad decisions of the current City Council.

They will renegotiate employee contracts in good faith to achieve effective pension and benefit reform. They will prioritize public safety to restore the strength of the police department and insure our firefighter/paramedics have the support they need to provide timely responses.

They oppose the flawed proposed charter (Measure V), the one-sided agreement with the developer of Banning Ranch approved by the Council Majority by a 4-1 vote, and the privatizing of our public parks.

We can count on them for conservative fiscal stewardship and protection of the qualities that make Costa Mesa great.

John Stephens, a Costa Mesan for 23 years, co-founded Stephens Friedland LLP, a firm specializing in business litigation. He served on the Finance Council at St. John the Baptist Church and the Board of Directors of Costa Mesa Little League.

Harold Weitzberg, a Costa Mesan for 29 years, has extensive background in education and business development.

Sandy Genis grew up in Costa Mesa and is a professional land planner and consultant. Our former mayor served on City Council from 1988 to 1996. She maintained balanced budgets and prudent reserves. Sandy's concern for the taxpayer's dollar got Costa Mesa out of the Orange County investment pool before it went bankrupt in 1994.

Their qualifications and heart for true community service speak loudly enough. We don't need to criticize others to prove how much better suited Stephens, Genis and Weitzberg are to Costa Mesa's unique needs. We need leaders who will restore safety and financial sanity without the drama and upheaval.

ROBIN LEFFLER is president of Costa Mesans for Responsible Government.