John Bowler already ran for Hermosa Beach City Council and won, twice.
“I want to run again because I feel like someone has to do something,” Bowler said. “I feel like we’ve lost track of Hermosa Beach.”
Bowler has lived in Hermosa Beach for over 30 years. He served on the City Council for eight years, from 1993 to 2001 and said he doesn’t want to run for council again, but he feels like he has to because of the council’s recent bickering.
“And there are numerous issues that got to me,” said Bowler. “When the council started banning everything— smoking, Styrofoam boxes and now single use plastic bags, I thought that we should change our name from Hermosa to Banning.”
He added that when he served on the council in the 1990s there was a good mix of people on the dais.
“After the meetings we’d all go out and get drinks,” Bowler said. “It was like rugby – you kick the crap out of everybody then you get together afterward.”
Bowler said he thinks the most successful projects he worked as councilman on were revamping Lower Pier Avenue and creating the infrastructure for a pro-business attitude in the city.
“One of the most important issues now is redesigning the Aviation and Pacific Coast Highway corridor,” said Bowler. “It’s been the ugly stepchild forever. It has to be done the proper way.”
Bowler said he has the experience to get the redesign done well.
“I’ve shown myself to be a solid, resolute councilman with the ability to get things done,” said Bowler.
67-year-old Bowler originally grew up in Lima, Ohio and eventually served in Vietnam as a Navy journalist. He did odd jobs around the country after the war and ended up in Hermosa Beach, where he fell in love with the city and hasn’t moved since. He owned Fat Face Fenner’s Falloon – now Barnacles Bar and Grill – on Hermosa Avenue, for 25 years. Since selling the business in 2002 he has been running Food Truck Connection, a food truck booking company, while continuing to live above the Hermosa Avenue bar.
“Hermosa’s addictive,” he said. “Most of us came here to start over. Everybody just took you at face value then.”
His favorite thing about the city is that everybody knows their neighbors.
“Everybody says hello and everything is within staggering distance,” said Bowler.
He added that even though residents tend to be packed close together, everybody gets along.
“It’s a real small town,” said Bowler. “We have the farmers’ market, the fiestas, St. Patrick’s Day parade; all sorts of things. There’s a definite sense of community.”
Development is important to Bowler, but he said it needs to be done carefully.
“The big things that make Hermosa Hermosa are the beaches and ocean, and we need to protect them,” said Bowler. “We need to do less symbolic gestures and more things that make an impact.”
He added that he thinks there is a lot of potential in the downtown area and it will be important to be careful and make the right changes in the future.
“When I ran for council in 1993 there were two issues; downtown development and oil drilling,” Bowler said. “They came back, and it’s the same things again now.”
He agrees with the current council’s neutral stance on the potential E&B drilling project.
“I encourage everybody in town to try and keep an open mind,” said Bowler. “As a councilmember it would be my job to make sure there are no low information voters out there.”
As a councilmember, Bowler said that the most important quality is to have a sense of humor, especially a self-effacing one. “It saves other the people the trouble,” he said.
“I’m always excited about the good things happening in Hermosa Beach,” Bowler said. “Having the opportunity to swing this ship around is exciting.”
The General Municipal Election will be held on November 5. Current city council members Patrick “Kit” Bobko and Jeff Duclos are running for reelection.
Nanette B. Barragan, John Bowler, H.S. Fangary, Carolyn Petty, and former Hermosa Beach Police Chief Greg Savelli, have all filed to run for the three available seats.
The race for the treasurer’s office will be between Certified Public Accountant and Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce board member Karen S. Nowicki and retired manager and former 16-year councilmember J.R. Reviczky.