Candidate McNamara has app to engage residents in city issues

by Dan Blackburn

Tara McNamara wants to make it easier for Hermosa Beach residents to participate in local government issues, and she has a plan to accomplish this if she wins the lone city council seat now up for grabs. The mail-in election, currently ongoing, concludes May 11.

Five candidates seek the position vacated by Hany Fangary, who resigned late last year because he was moving to Manhattan Beach.

“I call it my ‘problem-solving’ app,” McNamara said this week. “It’s capabilities are really amazing. And the concept is simple. Residents identify a problem or issue, discuss it, agree on it, take it to the council, which would then place the item on an agenda for public discussion. That way residents have a stronger voice in decisions being made for them.”

The pandemic “has changed everything,” she noted, “from dining out, socializing and dating, but the one thing that hasn’t changed much is government.” She thinks her app will help contribute to “more transparency by government, and help it function better.”

“It’s a way for us all to get our minds together, to accomplish something for the community. We have some brilliant people in this town. If we put these minds together… wow! ”

She believes this would provide an opportunity for “the squeaky wheels” residents in the city “to get their ideas before the council. People could say, ‘This is what the residents want.’”

McNamara is a film-maker “and a mom,” she said, with three sons — two adults and a 10-year-old at home.

She said she has verbal support for her app idea from two council members, whom she did not name.

“I just don’t see how this doesn’t work,” she added. “It allows people to be heard. This is a small community, and this would work, I’m convinced.”

“There is some agreement (on the council) that there is a lack of transparency and communication,” she said, suggesting this might be a result of particularly bitter and bruising political battles endured by present council members.

McNamara would love to see the city “develop a punk rock museum,” citing the genre’s Hermosa Beach history, and she enthusiastically promotes a community swimming pool.

“We need a pool to teach our kids to swim, about water safety,” she said. “so the city says where are you going to put it, and how are you going to pay for it? This is where the residents’ ideas come in. It’s about the solution.”

McNamara sees potential for developing “a more artistic” community: “We need to attract a wider variety of visitors, and then provide a really cool experience,” she said, with “more social media and art.”

She’s a big fan, she said, of outdoor dining” “Everyone loves the dining decks. This is helping restaurants survive and thrive. We should do this through October, then open the parking spaces for other businesses.”

Homelessness is on her mind, also, she said, McNamara wrote recently on her Facebook page about the problem: “There’s still much to do when it comes to finding a solution for those living on the street — for their sake and for ours. While no city in the country has resolved this, my hope is that if we all put our heads (and hearts) together, we can come up with solutions.”

McNamara works at Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization “dedicated to improving the lives of all kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century.” ER




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Written by: Dan Blackburn

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