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Newsletter No. 27

How Chen plans to control six of the Council's seven votes /

Tripping with Chen /

Airport meeting finally set /

Neighbors and pilots meet /

My Mother Would Hate This Book /

Save our neighborhood zoning

A savvy Torrance resident told me that Mayor George Chen expects to control six of the seven Council votes next year at this time.

After an initial, “No way,” I realized that my source could be correct.

How could this happen? The next Torrance election will be March 5, 2024. Three seats will be on the ballot, and Chen believes he can get three right-wing Asian Americans elected.

Here’s what he is looking at:

District 2. Bridgett Lewis was appointed, and Chen believes she is the most vulnerable because she has his former seat. He won it by trouncing a wonderful sitting council member, Geoff Rizzo, and Chen assumes his successful campaign plan can be transferred to his anointed candidate.

District 4. Sharon Kalani defeated longtime former City Clerk Sue Herbers in 2020. I supported Herbers at the time, but Kalani has been an impressive council member and deserves a second term.

Chen assumed that she would be his fourth vote because she had often aligned with him against then-Mayor Pat Furey. When she thwarted his attempt to get Alan Masnek appointed to District 2, he was furious.

District 6. Mike Griffiths will be termed out. That’s a real loss for Torrance. Jack Walser has already filed to run.

In July 2021, District 5’s Aurelio Mattucci nominated him to fill Tim Goodrich’s seat when Goodrich resigned with about a year left in his term.

Goodrich resides in District 2 and would have been unable to run if he weren’t termed out. Chen also lives in District 2 and had the same problem, which is why he ran against Rizzo in 2020.

Because Goodrich had been elected in a citywide election, his appointed successor could come from any district. In the 2022 elections, candidates could only run in districts in which they live. So, Walser, who lives in District 6, couldn’t run until 2024.

If Griffiths had won his City Treasurer’s race against Goodrich, his successor would have had to live in the district, and Walser was hoping to get appointed for a second time.

Walser owns a gun store in Torrance and said he would have approved the Downtown gun store if he had been on the Council.

Apparently, however, he didn’t always follow what Chen and Mattucci were supporting. That occasional independence apparently cost him their support. They have been talking to Planning Commissioner Tony Yeh about running.

Next March may seem a long way off, but the candidates are already prepping. And Chen is well into his control plan.

Tripping with Chen:

The last newsletter reported residents’ dismay over the mayor’s prematurely setting up Friendship Cities ceremonies in Taiwan. Readers responded by asking if City funds were underwriting his trip or if he was going to write off expenses on his taxes.

The City has been very clear: This is a Chen vacation. However, only his CPA and the IRS will know if a write-off is involved.

Airport update No. 1:

The next Transportation Committee meeting has finally been set: 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, in the City Council Chamber. To see the agenda, which will be posted by Friday, April 7, go to

The public can speak and/or send in their comments. If emailed by 5:30 p.m. on the 11th, they will be included as supplementals on the City's website. Any sent after that but before the meeting ends will go into the record. For emailing help, scroll down to the Before I Go section. But then scroll back up to:

Airport update No. 2:

Brought together by a couple of intermediaries, Torrance Airport Assn. President Peter Broen met with the Reform Torrance Airport leader Richard Root. Broen was suggesting a way to lessen touch-and-goes by the pilot schools. Root pointed out some issues with the proposal, but the two have agreed to continue talking.

Marc Danziger, one of the meeting’s brokers, is happy: “If the neighbors and pilots can do one thing together, maybe we can open a persistent dialog.”

Mark your calendars:

Marcia Seligson wrote “My Mother Would Hate This Book.” Maybe she would have, but I loved it. Seligson, who has interviewed everyone from Steven Spielberg to Mother Teresa and John Denver for national publications, is a great storyteller.

You can hear her for free, but you will need to RSVP at and show a photo ID at the gate.

7 p.m. Thursday, May 11, at Temple Menorah, 1101 Camino Real, Redondo Beach.

Save our neighborhoods’ zoning:

Southwood Homeowners Assn. has joined the effort to regain local zoning control. Laurie Craig, its president, encouraged members to support the efforts of Our Neighborhood Voices. If you’re unfamiliar with it, check out the website,

John Heath, one of the organizers on the state level, told me that the next two months are critical: “If we don’t raise the money we need for the signature campaign, the proposition is dead.”

So, this is a critical time for those who care about allowing cities to decide where multi-unit housing should go.

Before I go:

v Because of a very special project, this will be my only April newsletter. See you in May.

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.

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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