Hermosa Beach council candidate Francois hopes to draw on long volunteer history

Hermosa Beach city council candidate Dean Francois cites his long history of civic involvement as qualification for office. Photo courtesy of Francois for City Council

Hermosa Beach city council candidate Dean Francois cites his long history of civic involvement as qualification for office. Photo courtesy of Francois for City Council

 

(Editor’s note: This is the first of five profiles of candidates for one open seat on the Hermosa Beach City Council, to be determined May 11 by a mail-in vote.)

by Dan Blackburn

At an early age, Dean Francois set a course in life designed to test his belief that  government was both interesting and could be improved.

 “I always had that in me,” he said of his attention to civic affairs, noting that in his youth his father was president of the local school board in upstate New York.

The 63-year-old single dad has a particular interest in environmental matters, and emphasizes ocean water health: “I like to swim in the ocean.”

Francois has been working “40 years to improve the quality of life in Hermosa Beach,” according to his website, citing a decades-long stint as a volunteer with Heal the Bay. He was elected to a board post of Sierra Club’s Palos Verdes/South Bay Group Executive Management Committee, part of a long list of community service endeavors.

“I think we’ve made a lot of improvement in ocean water quality over the years,” he said.

 Advocating for openness and transparency in civic matters, Francois had kind words for local city governments: “Beach area cities are more receptive to what people have to say and [leaders]  are amazingly involved,” he said, adding “It is enlightening to see that leaders understand when you know what you are talking about. They seem to respect people for the things that we advocate for.”

 The candidate said, “I want to bring a high level of transparency back,” suggesting the perception is that things are not out in the open as much as they should be, and I want to make sure things are completely above board, and that the public has the ability to communicate with the city council in as many ways as they can.”

He endorses a “strong council” form of government: “That is important, and that’s what we have in Hermosa Beach,” he said. “I hear critics claim that we have a strong city manager government, but we don’t. That may be the feeling, but it’s clear that the city manager works for the entire city council. That’s the type of direction a city manager should take.”

Francois said he is “the best qualified, because I know how important it is to listen when I get into office. I was on the other side of that microphone, and it’s important to listen to people, particularly if they don’t agree with you.”

He cited his personal growth over the years: “It provides me with the maturity to work with everyone to get somewhere.”

Helping in the recovery of a post-pandemic Hermosa Beach would be a priority if elected, he said. “As bigger events start coming back, we need to ensure everyone is engaged in the process, because we haven’t always had that.”

Francois wants to “spearhead a reduction of overburdensome red tape and paperwork currently required for permits. I’m the only candidate who has experience working in and with our local government, and I’m the candidate who brings together experience in non-governmental agencies, business and local government.” ER

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