Candidates amicable, but differences expressed in first debate
by Dan Blackburn
Five candidates vying for a single seat on the Hermosa Beach City Council squared off last Wednesday in a debate more amicable than antagonistic, with each describing concepts and ambitions for the city’s future.
Seeking to fill the post formerly occupied by Hany Fangary, who resigned in December, the five hopefuls discussed issues ranging from sewers to city staff during a Zoom event co-sponsored by Leadership Hermosa Beach and Easy Reader. Leadership Hermosa’s Ryan Nowicki moderated the forum
Hermosa Beach residents will begin receiving ballots shortly after April 12 for the special, May 11 mail-in election, city officials said.
According to city officials, voters can mail in their ballots or drop them off at the Vote-By-Mail drop box located behind the Hermosa Beach library across from City Hall, or at the County Registrar’s office. Dropped off ballots must be received before 8 p.m. May 11 to be counted. Mailed ballots must arrive no later than May 14 to be counted. Election results will be certified on Monday,May 24. The candidate with the most votes will win. There will not be a run-off.
Each candidate gave a two minute opening statement.
Randy Balik, a contractor and business owner, opened the two-hour forum’s conversation by stating, “It is clear that all candidates here love this city. I’m a long-term resident of three decades with a diverse professional experience.”
Dean Francois, a retired federal budget director, said, “I’m ready to work on a new way forward and I’m committed to take on that challenge.”
Raymond Jackson, a retired Army colonel, noted, “I’m a first generation American, the son of a Jamaican preacher man… spent 23 years as an Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer, and I have a broad and unique background.”
Daniel Rittenhouse, a renewable energy executive, said he wants to work “to improve the commercial vibrancy of the city,” adding that “the council could benefit from a younger perspective.”
Tara McNamara-Stabile, a mom and film journalist, said she wants to utilize her passion for “working with kids to encourage critical thinking. I am a creative thinker, and have fresh ideas to bolster businesses. With the present council there is a lot of group-think going on.”
(Ed Note: The following Questions and answers have been edited for brevity.)
Moderator: What sets you apart from other candidates?
Balik: I have proven leadership. I’ve owned businesses, and have been elected to major boards by numerous peers. And I have institutional knowledge of this city. Raising a family here has given me a unique perspective of Hermosa Beach.
Francois: I’ve lived here for 40 years. I’ve been on city commissions, I’ve advocated in front of councils, trying to work out global problems. I’ve been involved with major issues, and have the best qualifications.
Jackson: I have a unique skill set, having been involved in bureaucracies throughout my professional life. One assignment was the Pentagon, and it doesn’t get more convoluted than the Pentagon.
McNamara-Stabile: As a journalist, I have skills researching, and I’m always working to amplify the voices of children.
Rittenhouse: I’m the youngest of the candidates. I love Hermosa’s energy, but it’s slowly getting sleepy. And as a businessman all I’ve done is invest in clean energy.
Moderator: Do you believe facemasks should be required, and their wearing enforced.
Jackson: We are past the stage where we should be ticketing for violations, but people should still be wearing face masks. The city could be handing out masks and warnings.
Rittenhouse: I don’t think ticketing now makes any sense. I agree with Raymond (Jackson) we should not be enforcing, particularly on The…