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Newsletter No. 31

  • Mayor Chen expands Pride Month fiasco.

  • How special is Downtown Torrance?

  • Airport proposals readying for takeoff.

  • A fundraiser for local zoning control.

District 6’s Mike Griffiths was profound when he told the City Council audience on June 20 a simple truth he learned as a newly appointed Council member almost 10 years ago: It is impossible to enforce everything.

Griffiths said he quickly discovered the authorities will step in on most issues only if someone has complained. He offered this up after Susan Niemeyer made a well-articulated point in questioning why the City was suddenly enforcing a banner policy.

This is a complicated story with many chapters. It begins with a fiasco over a proclamation and ends – for the moment – with an agenda item on banners.

The one constant is Mayor George Chen, who was adamant that the City would no longer honor Pride Month. And as mayor, that is his prerogative. For an excellent explanation on why he has that power, read Teresa Liu’s article at https://www.dailybreeze.com/2023/06/07/torrance-business-group-pushes-for-official-pride-month-proclamation/.


This, however, is Chen’s quote that jumped out at me: “I denied the proclamation request because this is a certain choice of lifestyle for some people, and I respect each person’s personal choice. It does not rise to a proclamation.”

Lifestyle choice? Seriously?

The mayor is at best tone deaf about what’s going on in Torrance. This is a City that should be celebrating its rich diversity – people with different ethnicities, different religions, and different sexualities.


Instead, he is focusing on his own concerns and not the City’s as a whole. Compare his stance to District 3’s Asam Sheikh, who spoke proactively for the proclamation. He put humanity over his religion’s stance. Something Chen needs to think about doing if he doesn’t want to be Torrance’s second one-term mayor.

If you missed the initial hoo-hah over the proclamation, please check out Newsletter No. 30 at www.TakeBackTorrance.com. That issue resonated with readers – straight and gay alike. One of the more powerful letters came from Rowan Foxwood who forwarded the email she sent to the mayor and Council. Here is an excerpt that speaks directly to the heart of the issue:

“My wife and I have lived in Torrance for the past 19 years. I have lived in Torrance for a total of 37 years. Never before in my life, except during the 2000 Prop 22 campaign, have we felt the abject terror we are experiencing in today’s culture war climate. Some of you are members of minority communities. I am certain you have felt the fear inherent in being ‘other’ – maybe after 9/11; maybe during Covid; maybe via profiling.

“Torrance is supposed to be our community, our home. How can we feel safe and comfortable at home when even the most basic traditions of honoring people who have endured generations of horrific violence and vitriol become anathema to our leaders?!”

The banners are Chapter 2 of this story. The mayor was the “someone” who complained.

Consequently, the Downtown Torrance Assn.’s Pride Month banners were taken down. The group intended to put them back up. But City Manager Aram Chaparyan and City Attorney Patrick Sullivan told them they didn’t have the authority to put anything on the light poles, which are owned by Southern California Edison.

The last chapter was the June 20 agenda item: Development of Guidelines for Street Pole Banners Within the Public Right-of-Way in Torrance. It ended with the Council voting for a policy that mirrors SCE’s policy. So, no more banners promoting anything, except City-sponsored events.

But there is an Epilogue: Chen is inadvertently giving the community an opportunity to tell him what it thinks of his policies. He set the date before the Pride Month brouhaha, but the timing could not be better from the viewpoint of those concerned with his actions. It is on my schedule, and I hope it is on yours.

Mark your calendar:

Mayor George Chen will have his first town hall.

Tuesday, June 27 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 3031 Torrance Blvd.

While you have your calendars open, a reminder that June 24 is the free TOCApalooza. Entertainment for all ages on three stages with an Enchanted Garden for children. The food and drink includes beer and wine – at modest prices. For more information, go to https://torrancearts.org/festival/.


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

Also, this weekend, Torrance Summer Nights continues with the PV Symphonic Band on June 25. Check out www.arts.torranceca.gov/the-arts/summerconcerts to see the entire summer schedule. Last weekend I saw Nina Lares Jazz Quartet and thought they put on a great show. There were lots of chairs, blankets and picnic baskets.


Sunday, June 25 at 4 p.m. at the Wilson Park Amphitheatre, 2200 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance. Free admission.

Looking ahead: The hit Broadway show “Kinky Boots” will play at the Armstrong Theatre in August. Buy your tickets now before the limited run sells out. It’s the Torrance Theatre Company’s summer musical. If past performances are predictors, this one will be another well-acted/sung/danced show. For tickets, go to https://itkt.choicecrm.net/templates/TORR/?prod=TorranceTheatreCompany#/events.

How special is Downtown Torrance?

Not very – if you follow the actions of District 5’s Aurelio Mattucci. Last year he pushed to have a gun store in Downtown Torrance. Fortunately, it failed.

At the June 20 Council meeting, however, he won: The Council OK’d a motion to discuss altering the Downtown overlay, and it approved an appeal to let America’s Tires have a larger-than-allowable sign. The size is permissible everywhere in Torrance, except for Downtown. As a major chain, the company was adamant that it wants all its signs a uniform size.

Many cities are comfortable not having major chains in certain areas. For example, Manhattan Beach’s chains are on Sepulveda, but you won’t find them on Highland or Manhattan Ave.

When Torrance established the overlay, it was going for a certain vibe, but the Council has agreed to entertain eroding it.

Griffiths and Sheikh voted to deny the bigger sign. Both are former Planning commissioners, and Sheikh was chair when he won election to the Council. Griffiths spoke to the problem this exception will cause.


By the time the issue returns to the Council, I am hoping they and members of the community have made the case that Downtown still needs protections to thrive.

City readying Airport proposals for takeoff:

The long-awaited Transportation Committee report will be heard at the July 11 meeting. According to the City website, www.TrendingInTorrance.com, the Council will hear recommendations to:

  • “Implement landing fees for all transient aircraft and Torrance based flight schools/fleets of more than 3 aircraft, with certain exemptions for military, public safety, and medical flights.

  • “Implement the draft Letter of Agreement between Torrance-based flight schools and City of Torrance.

  • “Conduct a noise study to potentially expand the current number of noise monitoring stations in both the South and North patterns.

  • “Explore a total phasing out of leaded gas in 10-15 years.”


The Council will also get updates on the legalities of eliminating “touch and goes” and of implementing a moratorium on additional flight schools.

Meanwhile, research continues to show how devastating noise is. The New York Times’ June 19 Science section ran this story: “Noise Could Take Years Off Your Life . . . . We used a professional sound meter to measure the din of daily life and talked to scientists about the health risks it can pose.”


If you are concerned about the problems generated by Torrance Airport, tune in to the July 11 meeting. Or even better: Attend and be seen and perhaps heard.

How late was it?:

The June 20 meeting adjourned at 11:37 p.m. It’s the second consecutive meeting to end before midnight. Definitely a good trend.

Before I go:

v Do you care about the zoning problems from laws created by the Legislature and want a proposition that will return this issue to local control? On June 24 at 1:30 p.m. people can financially support the movement and have an enjoyable afternoon at a spectacular Palos Verdes Estates home. For more information, go to www.OurNeighborhoodVoices.com/June24.

v Oops: In the last newsletter, I misidentified Mattucci’s District as No. 2. He’s 5; 2 is being well-represented by Bridgett Lewis.

v 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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