There is a crucial election in Hermosa tomorrow and if you love eclectic Hermosa, social and active Hermosa, a Hermosa that you and I can afford to live in, I ask you to vote for Ken Hartley and Pete Tucker.
In 2013, lawyers Nanette Barragan and Hany Fangary, backed by Keep Hermosa Hermosa (KHH) surprised everyone by sneaking onto the Hermosa Beach City Council.
Both were newcomers to the city, both were attorneys, both had recently bought homes here – one on the Strand – and both were vocally supported by KHH. They were against Measure O (though they still only got one vote each) and, prior to being elected, neither had much track record working in the community.
Post-oil they were instrumental in dividing the community, spending more time grandstanding than governing, and generally wreaking havoc as council people. Ms. Barragan bailed on the city recently, dumping the home that she claimed during her campaign had been “a life-long dream,” and moved to Carson.
Mr. Fangary has proven to be incredibly sensitive and immature when he doesn’t get his way. He has literally walked out on council meetings because he didn’t like the vote, derisively referred to Mayor Carolyn Petty as thinking she is “Queen of Hermosa,” and refused to attend a city council team-building retreat because his colleagues didn’t “respect” him enough to make it worthwhile. That last stunt cost the city a $3,000 deposit because Fangary backed out the day before its scheduled time.
Barragan is now long gone and all we can do is try to pick up the broken pieces she left behind. Unfortunately, Fangary is still with us, pushing hard to Make Hermosa Manhattan (MHM).
In the past Fangary has sued the city to close tattoo parlors and tried to remove the volleyball courts near his Strand home. He had code enforcement threaten Good Stuff, The Deck and The Mermaid with fines if they didn’t prevent people from parking their bikes on the Strand (The horror! The horror!). When that didn’t work, he said the police department should ticket people that lean their bikes there. He also proposed having regulations to govern the size, style and color of hostess stands on the Pier.
Death by 1,000 cuts. How can businesses keep up?
When I moved to Southern California, I had a choice between settling in Manhattan or Hermosa. Even on just a few visits I had already seen a difference between the two and I preferred the more free-spirited community of Hermosa Beach. Fangary, on the other hand, recently asked, “Why can’t Hermosa be more like Manhattan Beach?” When the people around intimated they didn’t want that to happen, he was incredulous.
Essentially, it turns out that these wealthy, legal beagle newcomers just aren’t that interested in keeping Hermosa Hermosa. They have their own agendas and those agendas leave no room for the average Hermosan who loves the quirky, active and social lifestyle of the community.
What can we learn from this?
Perhaps one thing to learn is that the KHH community, blinded by its admirable but single-minded passion to defeat Measure O, is good at running campaigns but not that good at picking city leaders. They’re 2-and-0 at campaigning but 0-for-2 on leadership.
Oddly, they have a predilection for lawyers that haven’t lived here more than a few years. Being lawyers, these folks are well-spoken, smooth-talkers but whether they will support the things that truly keep Hermosa Hermosa has proven to be a Vegas-style crap shoot.
Today, the same group of people that brought you Ms. Barragan and Mr. Fangary insist you absolutely must vote for Justin Massey to save the world.
Justin Massey is, like the others, an attorney who just moved here recently (2012) and came wealthy enough to quickly snatch up a pricey home. He has very little track record in the community other than working on political campaigns and a little charity work. Massey’s campaign has coddled, like Fangary does at council, the handful of residents with the most negative and damaging attitudes in the community. He is extremely charming and says some good things, but so did Barragan and Fangary.
If Massey had a track record of any kind in the city, maybe he’d turn out to be very good, but our last two KHH-backed gambles haven’t paid off. Fangary is intent on getting Massey and Jeff Duclos elected and clearly hopes he will then have the majority he needs to start the process of changing the city culture to “Manhattan Beach South.”
Massey’s supporters are fond of saying that he doesn’t plan to “shut anything down” but, of course, no one says they do.
What they do is slowly over-regulate, shorten business hours, hassle business owners, saddle Smackfest, Hermosa Ironman and Fiesta Hermosa with restrictions and demands until they die of suffocation. In the end, the places you love today will die a death of 1,000 cuts and be replaced by high-end places that charge $25 for a drink, $80 for a dinner entree and roll up the streets at 10PM.
If you want a Hermosa where unapproved opinions aren’t tolerated and the streets roll up at 10PM, then you should definitely vote for Massey and Duclos. If you prefer a Hermosa with a little energy, plenty of volleyball courts, a Hermosa where the city government mostly leaves you alone and focuses on improving city services, than vote for Ken Hartley and Pete Tucker. They’ll get real work done. Just look at their record.
That’s why I say, if you truly want to keep Hermosa Hermosa, then vote for people with a track record in the city. Vote for Ken Hartley and Pete Tucker. It’s our only chance.
Or we can just keep doing this instead: