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Newsletter No. 25

Torrance saved by its Housing Element.

More trash talk.

Airport updates.

Cherry blossoms.

Two-thirds of California cities missed the deadline to get state approval for a Housing Element plan. And now many are feeling the pain as developers exercise their ability to submit “builder’s remedies,” allowing them to ignore cities’ zoning rules.

An example: In Santa Monica there is a proposal for 2,000 units in a 20-level complex. The city was tardy on the deadline, and a state law allows the developers to have their way with a proposal that would never have passed the Planning Department.

Torrance dodged that bullet. Community Development Director Michelle Ramirez and her staff met the deadline and deserve our applause. The city has designated areas that could be rezoned for about 5,000 residential units.

This doesn’t mean that our work is done. The state legislature has been chipping away at local control. SB 9/10, which allows duplexes in areas previously zoned only for single-family homes, is the beginning of a long list of legislation designed to override cities’ rights.

What can you as an individual do?

District 6’s Mike Griffiths has been on this for a few years now. He believes we need to make the case with our legislators that they should work to increase housing without overriding cities’ ability to determine the specifics.

Torrance’s Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi is on board, but he has been a lonely advocate. Griffiths is working to add others to the list of supporters, but a lot of scut work is needed to make that happen.

Take a look at and then click on the contact button if you want to help.

Another group is seeking to undo SB 9/10’s damage by getting a proposition on the November 2024 ballot to ensure that zoning returns to local control. For more information, go to

More Trash Talk No. 1:

Judy Scott clicked on the corrected link in the last newsletter and discovered that the prohibited plastic compostable bags had been relocated on the flyer.

When I asked Sanitation Services Manager Chris Kuebert about this, he responded: “This is a new program for the City. We are working with our partners on an ongoing basis to ensure compliance as well as inform the public. It is best for residents to always check our website for the most current and updated information regarding all collection commodities (landfill, recycling, organics).”

He then gave this corrected link:

More Trash Talk No. 2:

Sara McKown, an experienced composter, is thrilled with the City’s new program: “Having the luxury to just dump my small canister into the green bin and someone else takes it away is amazing! You do NOT need plastic bags for this. Simply Google ‘compost countertop containers’ and a million options come up.”

“All I do is put my food scraps, egg cartons, etc. into the bin and then run it out to the Green Bin when it's full. It is literally that freaking easy. The counter bins are completely odorless. The food scraps go straight in the bin, no bag needed. They dry up a little during the week and all empty out in the trucks. It's not gross.”

Airport update No. 1:

Pilots are fighting a push to institute fines for bad behavior. But a look at a public flight-tracking system on Feb. 26 shows a number of instances in which pilots thumbed their noses at Torrance’s rules.

Most of the problems were low approaches/touch-and-goes, which are banned on Sundays. And one of the guilty parties was a well-known pilot who is out front on rejecting residents’ complaints.

Obviously, it’s not just beginners doing these practices. In fact, it was two experienced pilots practicing on Nov. 30 when their plane crashed in Torrance, and they died.

Airport update No. 2:

Leaded gasoline continues to rank high on residents’ list of airport reforms.

A look at this link helps explain why:

Here is how the article starts: “My kids are being poisoned, but all people talk about is the safety of the pilots. There is no respect for this community, no compassion and no law preventing this from happening.”

While talking about environmental issues, perhaps the airport’s commission guidance should be split between the Airport and Environmental Commissions. Matters dealing with hangar maintenance, etc. would stay with its current oversight. Everything else, which impacts the community at large, would shift.

As it happens, the Council is updating the commission language in the Municipal Code, so the timing couldn’t be better.

How late was it?:

In this feature, we will tell you when the City Council meeting adjourned. The Feb. 28 session, which started at 5 p.m., ended at 2:30 a.m. Good morning.

Mark your calendar:

The Cherry Blossom Cultural Festival will again feature performances, crafts, and food. For more information on its activities, go to

March 26 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Columbia Park, 4045 190th St. Free parking and a shuttle will be at 20420 Madrona Ave.

Before I go:

Want to tell the City Council your opinion on an agenda item or address any concerns? Send it to; in the subject line put the agenda item or the topic.

If you also want your comments to appear in an agenda item’s Staff Report, send it as well to Make sure that you have sent it by 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting – earlier if you want it included in the agenda’s first posting, which can be a week ahead.

Jean Adelsman

Feel free to share this email -- or tell friends about And if you email a response to, please indicate whether you are expressing a thought for my eyes only or whether I may share your comments with the whole audience.

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