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Newsletter No. 30

  • No Pride for Mayor Chen.

  • Mattucci's latest rant.

  • Griffiths pushes to fix nomination problem.

  • Free entertainment -- mark your calendar.


The Downtown Torrance Assn. can be proud of how it’s honoring Pride Month – especially given Mayor George Chen’s determination to remove any attempt at spotlighting it.

The annual June celebration has routinely merited a City proclamation.

Chen, however, was adamant that Torrance would not recognize the LGBTQ+ community. Some thought he might cave and allow a less-than-fully acknowledged proclamation, much as he had done with Black History Month, another tradition he chose not to honor.

The DTA was not deterred. Its board had unanimously voted to go all out in support. Part of the plan involved doing its own version of a proclamation during the June 6 City Council meeting.

The audience, which was already packed with candidates for commission appointments and residents wanting to speak on the proposed budget and the increase in trash fees, was filled with rainbow flags. They were waved multiple times throughout the evening – whether or not Pride Month was being discussed. One resident made articulate points about refuse while holding up the flag.

The pitch for Pride began with Judi Gerber, president of the Torrance Chapter of the American Assn. of University Women. She was there to receive a City proclamation in recognition of the AAUW chapter’s 55th anniversary. In thanking the mayor, she adroitly segued from how married women once were unable to have credit cards in their own names to the need to protect the LGBTQ+ community. She was cheered; the mayor’s smile froze.

The highlight came during Orals when Isabel Schwartz introduced the DTA’s proclamation and its first “whereas.” Adam Schwartz, James Hill, Bill Reynolds and Hanna Washlake each beat the one-minute limit while making their points about the need to support diversity.

But this tug-of-war between the City and the DTA is not over. The next morning, City workers took down the Pride banners the DTA had installed on Sartori. Adam Schwartz said he has retrieved them and plans to put them back up. He said he had informed City staff a year ago of DTA’s intent to do this and had no pushback then. Of course, that was before Chen became mayor.

Commissions Part I:

The City Council made its commission appointments at its June 6 meeting, and my thanks to the Council members who voted to give me a second term on the Civil Service Commission.

But the road to reappointment was not a smooth one.

For anyone who has not applied to serve on a commission, the process is simple: Candidates fill out a form and then request interviews with Council members. The scheduling is done by a City staff member. I followed the procedure and left town on a short vacation.

Two days later District 2’s Aurelio Mattucci responded to my request for an interview with this email:

Jean,

Something has been brought to my attention that is rather disturbing and uncalled for.

One of your fellow commissioners revealed that you referred to me as a White Supremacist when speaking to another commissioner at a Civil Service commission meeting. I don't really care that you continue to attack me, but when you do this while acting as a city commissioner at a meeting, then things are different. This is not a question of whether or not you have the right to speak freely, it is a question of whether or not you are properly fulfilling your duties and have you crossed the line by taking your continuous slander too far? Allegedly you said, "more an (sic) more Mayor Chen is aligning himself with white supremacist Aurelio Mattucci". What bothers me the most is the fact that this is a baseless accusation and that you are doing it while acting as chair of the civil service commission.


You were speaking in a manner that people around you heard you. Please remember that your slanderous comments and accusations can have a negative affect (sic) on my ability to feed my family. I am not retired and living off a cushy pension, I still work for a living.

I am very offended by your remarks.

Maybe you can explain in what context you felt it was OK to call me a WHITE SUPREMACIST?

Aurelio Mattucci

But Mattucci didn’t just send me the erroneous and defamatory email; he also sent it to the entire City Council, which, by the way, is a Brown Act violation.

For the record, the conversation never happened. It was fabricated. By whom? When questioned by others, Mattucci said Mayor George Chen was the person who had told him.

Clearly this is a smear attempt gone wrong. I am mulling what my next steps should be.

Commissions Part II:

District 6’s Mike Griffiths has pointed out problems with the commission appointment system in the past. At the June 6 meeting he got a concurrence of the Council to agree to review an issue that Chen has refused to deal with: the order in which appointments are made.


Griffiths has pushed to have appointments to quasi-judicial commissions, like Civil Service and Planning, done first because the pool of applicants is at its best.

When that comes back before the Council, I hope they will also address changes to the Municipal Code governing commissions. The Council asked City Attorney Patrick Sullivan to return with proposed revisions last October. If you don’t remember that Chen debacle, go to www.TakeBackTorrance.com and check out Newsletter No. 13.

How late was it?:

The June 6 meeting ended at four minutes before midnight. While that might seem late to some, it means the Council is trending away from adjournments that ran to 3 a.m.


Mark your calendars:

Free entertainment! For the whole family! Once again, the Torrance Cultural Arts Foundation is putting on a fun-filled day. It used to be called the South Bay Festival of the Arts, but they’ve rebranded it TOCApalooza.

The new name better describes the fabulousness of the day. The performances are on three stages, showing off the Cultural Arts Center. A juried art and photo show is in the Ken Miller. Artisans are selling one-of-a-kind items, and local restaurateurs have food and drink for sale. And that includes beer and wine.

The Japanese Garden is transformed into the Enchanted Garden for children. To get a sense of what the event is like, check out https://torrancearts.org/festival/. And, yes, that is Mike Griffiths twirling longtime partner Cecilia Geronimo in the less-than-a-minute video.

Saturday, June 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center, 3330 Civic Center Dr., Torrance. Free admission.

Before I go:

Want to tell the City Council your opinion on an agenda item or address any concerns? Send it to CityCouncil@torranceca.gov; 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 CouncilMeetingPublicComment@torranceca.gov. 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 www.TakeBackTorrance.com. And if you email a response to jeanadelsman@yahoo.com, 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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