Tri-Valley fitness entrepreneur Razi Hasni has been building strong, healthy bodies since 2014 but said he's been building connections much longer.
It's a personal quality he argues would serve Dublin residents well, should he win one of two open seats on the Dublin City Council in the Nov. 3 general election.
"I've been a bridge builder all my life; I am a complete blank slate," Hasni told the Weekly in a recent interview highlighting his lack of political alliances or allegiances and the outsider's view he promises to bring to the dais, if elected.
With many local businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, the council candidate and Joya Yoga & Cycle founder said there are measures he would have the city take to support its mom-and-pop businesses -- a topic he said he knows plenty about.
"If we're trying to push retailers to the forefront of COVID-19, we need to be cognizant," Hasni said. "What makes up the small business economy in Dublin is not just retailers -- it's restaurateurs, hair salons, barbershops, fitness studios. By strengthening the entire business community, we'll make it come out of COVID better."
To that end, Hasni supports unburdening Dublin's small businesses -- in particular, hair salons, barbershops and restaurants -- that must compete with places in Contra Costa County with in some cases less-restrictive health orders.
"The proposition of having our hair salons and barber shops fall behind and not open right away for indoor service means others will go to San Ramon and other neighboring cities. Highlights in those inequities are important for us," Hasni said.
"The main thing we can affect in City Hall is facilitate permit use," he added. "We need to be making sure we support businesses in their outdoor abilities. If the county allows outdoor hair salon services, we'd facilitate the permit process and do it without cost."
"Having the city show support for outdoor dining" by continuing programs like Dine Dublin, which boosts the profile of local eateries, and applying the same model for local retailers is another election goal for Hasni.
"One of the main focuses is making sure that we're able to shepherd a downtown Dublin program" to create a "vibrant downtown Dublin core," Hasni said.
Although "excited for the future," with Dublin ranked one of the fastest growing cities in America, Hasni said "development has outpaced a little bit of our infrastructure" and will require making ValleyLink key in easing traffic congestion and "looking at Dublin Boulevard, making sure to keep traffic to a minimum" in that area.
"But before any widening of roads, we need to make sure to approach the community to provide an avenue to do forums and engage," Hasni said. "It's easier said than done but it will solve a lot of mediation problems."
Born in Oman, Hasni spent most of his childhood "surfing and on the beaches of north Tunisia," where he lived with his mother, a Peace Corps nurse, and father, a Tunisian language arts instructor, until moving to Texas at the age of 14. After attending high school and college in the Lone Star State, Rasni relocated to California in 2004, where he met and married his wife, Deanna.
Rasni moved to Dublin in 2013, and quickly became well-known as a Realtor before opening Joya Yoga in Livermore a year later. The operation has since expanded to a total of six Bay Area cities, including two locations in Dublin.
Hasni speaks five languages -- English, Arabic, French, Spanish and Farsi -- and has a 13-year-old daughter enrolled at Fallon Middle School.
A total of nine candidates for Dublin City Council including Hasni are running in the Nov. 3 general election: Samir Qureshi, Dawn Plants, Sherry Hu, Shawn Costello, Sri Muppidi, Michael McCorriston, Lucrecia Deleon and Kashef Qaadri.
To learn more about Hasni, visit www.razi4dublin2020.com.