ANAHEIM — Citing what he believes is a lack of leadership, Anaheim Councilman Bob D. Simpson has said he is considering running for mayor in November.
"I don't think there is any leadership on the council right now," Simpson said. "I really think someone with my background in government can provide leadership and work at building consensus on the council."
Simpson, a former city manager and fire chief whose four-year council term expires next year, said he has not yet started raising money for such a bid.
"I've had some people talk to me about running, so I'm considering it," he said.
Simpson's announcement Wednesday contradicts comments he has long made about wanting to retire from public service after completing his first term on the council.
He said he started changing his mind because he perceives the City Council as lacking leadership and struggling to make important policy decisions, such as hiring additional police officers, increasing city revenue and grappling with the city's budgetary restraints.
He criticized what he said were Mayor Tom Daly's unfulfilled calls for privatization as a way of addressing some budget concerns.
"He's been on the council . . . five years and the only thing that he's come up with himself is privatizing the golf courses," Simpson said. "That's like emptying the ocean with an eyedropper. That will do nothing substantial for solving our budget problems."
Daly defended his record as mayor, saying: "I have fulfilled my commitments to the citizens of Anaheim, and I want continue to work for progress on a variety of fronts in the city."
The mayor said he had campaigned against the utility tax, which was allowed to sunset during his term.
"Mr. Simpson has consistently opposed proposals to reduce the cost of government functions and at the same time he's been one of the sponsors of the utility tax increase," Daly said.
In addition to the leadership issue, Simpson said he is rethinking his position in part because of a change in his retirement plans. He said he had intended to sell his house and move to Palm Springs, but is postponing those plans because of the soft real estate market locally.
"I'm going to wait a few years before retiring there," he said.
If Simpson runs for mayor, it could become a hotly contested campaign. Daly said "unless something unexpected occurs," he is running for reelection.
Councilman Irv Pickler, who must run for mayor or leave the council because of the city's new term-limit ordinance, said he is keeping his options open. Under a new city law, candidates for mayor no longer have to be chosen from council members.
"Maybe there will be three of us running for mayor," Pickler said. "Nothing surprises me anymore in politics."
Times correspondent Terry Spencer contributed to this report.