When City Council candidate H.S. “Hany” Fangary and his family moved to the South Bay seventeen years ago, he knew it was a place he could put down roots.
“We spent most of our beach time essentially in Hermosa Beach,” said Fangary. “…I had this tradition with my daughter to feed the birds. She loved that.”
The family of four lived in North Redondo, but soon Fangary and his wife wanted to build permanent ties to a community.
“We looked for a place to build and raise our kids, and we picked Hermosa Beach as the place to do that,” said Fangary.
46-year-old Fangary, a lawyer at Velasco Law Group, grew up in Egypt and came to the United States to go to college. He earned a Mechanical Engineering Degree at Cal Poly Pomona and eventually earned his Law Degree from Loyola Marymount.
“I did construction engineering and environmental engineering for nine years while going to law school at night,” Fangary said, adding that he has been practicing law for the last 15 years. “My primary practice is environmental, but I also do estate planning litigation work.”
While building his work portfolio, Fangary and his wife built their dream home in Hermosa Beach.
“Actually I shouldn’t take credit, my wife built ninety-nine percent of the house,” said Fangary. “The idea was to build a house to live in for the rest of our lives.”
Soon, Fangary learned that he wanted to get more involved in the community and ran for City Council in 2011.
“Unfortunately I came almost 200 votes short, so I thought I’d try again this time,” said Fangary.
At the time of his first election, the city was dealing with the Mcpherson oil project litigation that could have potentially bankrupted the city.
“Now [the main issue’s] not the litigation, now it’s the proposed oil drilling project and the vote,” said Fangary. Together with community members and neighbors, Fangary founded the anti oil-drilling group Keep Hermosa Hermosa.
“A few of us in the community had some serious concerns about the potential impacts on the city if the proposal provided is voted [yes] on,” Fangary said. “So [we] got together and started talking about what we can and should do. The goal of our group was to educate Hermosa residents just about the fact that the vote is going to be coming up and a settlement was entered into – something I think a lot of people don’t fully understand.”
The initial intent of the group, Fangary said, was to get people educated, not take a position on the project.
“But all of us are opposed to the proposed oil drilling,” said Fangary. “Our intent was to be advocates and convince people drilling oil in Hermosa Beach isn’t good for communities, property values, or kids or our city.”
He is also opposed to the rebuilding of the AES power plant in Redondo Beach and said he has tried to get the current Hermosa Beach City Council to take a stance against the power plant.
“I am very much opposed to the oil drilling project and power plant based on the area’s factors and based on my environmental experience,” Fangary said. “I’m concerned about both air emissions, noise and the smell to the surrounding area and concerns on a geologic basis regarding potential subsidence that both Redondo Beach and Long Beach have experienced as a result of the oil drilling.”
One of his specific concerns is the impact that an 87-foot drilling rig would have on property values.
“If you have a building height limitation of 30 feet and put a drill rig three times that height it stands out, and not in a good way,” said Fangary. “It will impact property values in addition to other concerns.”
He is also concerned about the safety of downtown Hermosa Beach in the evening.
“At a minimum we need to install security cameras in Pier Plaza where we’ve experienced safety incidents, including stabbings,” Fangary said. “If I’m elected I would want to work with businesses in Pier Plaza to take more responsibility for their customers and make sure they abide by all the rules and regulations of the city and don’t pose an unreasonable burden on our residents, police and city services.”
Although a supporter of more enforcement near the bar areas of the city, he is not a supporter of the proposed Measure B that would shorten establishment’s closing times.
“It’s really a great way to get the dialogue going regarding the concerns I have with the downtown area, but I think it goes too far for what we need to accomplish,” Fangary said, about the ballot measure’s proposed midnight and 1 a.m. closing times. “It’s a good starting point to think of what it is that we need to do to fix the problem. I think we need to provide incentives for businesses to come to our city to build more family-friendly establishments.”
Even though he lost the City Council election two years ago, he is confident that he will be elected this time. He added that being elected to the City Council would be the ultimate political position.
“I came to this city with a plan to live here with my family for the rest of my life,” said Fangary. “The only reason I’m running is to make sure the city is as safe and as pleasant a place to live for me and my kids – and hopefully, later on, my grandkids – as it can be.” ER