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Newsletter No. 26

Friendship Cities.

Sling Pilot Academy.

More bad pilot behavior and a matrix.

An endangered ballot box?

TEF fundraiser . . . and a chance to win a car.

Disaster planning.

Who could fault the concept of friendship?

Evidently many readers are dismayed by Torrance’s Friendship Cities program, and they let me know they weren’t happy that the last newsletter didn’t have a comment on a related item from the Feb. 28 City Council meeting.

Complaint received. So here is the background and what happened at the meeting.

A half century ago, Torrance established a Sister City program with Kashiwa, Japan. It has been a wonderful success story because of the community’s involvement.

Then, last Nov. 8, the Council was asked to create a Friendship Cities program with Hwaseong, South Korea, and Changhua, Taiwan.

Evidently a Friendship City recognition comes with fewer bells and whistles than a Sister City. At the meeting, District 6’s Mike Griffiths raised the points that this would require extra efforts from an already thinly stretched City staff and that the same benefits could be achieved without a formal agreement.

And he mentioned that Sister City Assn. members were troubled by Mayor George Chen’s comments to them . . . remarks that they thought undermined their program. In response, Chen brushed aside the criticism.

Moving forward, on Feb. 28, the Council was asked again to approve agreements with Hwaseong, South Korea, and Changhua and Tainan, Taiwan. Yes, we now have two Taiwan cities getting a spotlight. And that’s where the outrage began.

The Council and members of the community questioned why there wasn’t a broader geographical reach. They wanted more time to think about it. But it appears time was of the essence because Chen was leaving for a Taiwan vacation, and he had already set up signing ceremonies in the two Taiwan cities.

If the Council had delayed, Chen would have been left with egg on his face for setting up ceremonies before he had the approval to do so.

As expected, Chen’s allies – District 5’s Aurelio Mattucci and District 1’s Jon Kaji – backed him.

Griffths, District 4’s Sharon Kalani and District 3’s Asam Sheikh had misgivings and voted against the program. District 2’s Bridgett Lewis gave Chen his face-saving fourth vote.


Sling Pilot Academy’s business plan continues to depend on wrecking residents’ serenity.

Its co-CEO Wayne Toddun appeared on KTLA to tout Sling’s offer of 100 free flights to potential students. Because of the demand, Sling upped the flights to 200. The free flights got rained out and will be rescheduled, but 700 people showed up. That interest is obviously what is bolstering Sling’s plans.

The problem: While the residents of Torrance benefit from having a local airport, they get nothing but noise from having flight schools there.

Griffiths has asked City Attorney Patrick Sullivan to investigate the steps needed to identify a public nuisance. We await his update.

More Airport woes:

The leaders of Torrance Airport Reform group have emailed the Transportation Committee a lengthy request, and also a well-done matrix. A date has still not been set for an April meeting.

Because of its format, I am unable to add the well-done text to If you would like to see it, please email me at so that I can send it as an attachment.

Meanwhile, bad pilot behavior continues. Richard Root said he verified that on Saturday five planes created at least 15 violations, including 14 touch-and-goes during curfew hours – before 10 a.m or after 5 p.m.

“The City's system should capture these violations, but we don't know for sure if they do. I filed complaints on Noise Lab and checked the box requesting a response, but they never respond. . . . I wonder if staff can keep up with the volume.

“So, in addition to ignoring "Fly Friendly" letters, pilots also ignore mandatory curfew hours,” Root wrote. Back the ballot box:

Redondo Beach, which has almost half the population of Torrance, has four times as many ballot boxes. And Torrance’s lone box may be at risk.

Renewing Torrance’s County contract for the box in the Civic Center complex was on the March 14 agenda. District 5’s Aurelio Mattucci asked to have the matter held until Chen’s return from his Taiwan trip.

The last time the matter came up for a vote, Chen was the lone vote against having a ballot box at all. If you want to ensure that we don’t lose our sole box, reach out to the Council.

How late was it?:

In this feature, we will tell you when the City Council meeting adjourned. The March 14 session, which started at 5 p.m., called it quits at 1 a.m.

Mark your calendar:

The Torrance Education Foundation puts on fun fundraisers with great items in the silent and live auctions. But the highlight is always: Who won the car?

In 2013, it was me. This year it could be you – unless I win it again. I get my tickets from Lowell Hardison, but TEF has made it easy to buy a chance to win a 2023 Chevrolet Bolt. Go to

Friday, April 21 at 6 p.m. at the DoubleTree, 21333 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance.

Before I go:

v The City is looking for residents’ feedback in updating its Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. To participate in the disaster-planning survey, go to

It took me fewer than 10 minutes and made me realize that I should sign up for the next CERT class.

v 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.

(I’m hearing that some residents are getting a notice that their emails have been blocked. Please forward that email advisory if you get it.)

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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