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Newsletter No. 34

  • An attempt to kill light rail to Torrance.

  • Airport relief for residents.

  • Proclamation petition.

  • Video of Chen meeting.

  • Apple store coming to Del Amo.

What a difference two months can make:

At the beginning of June, the Council proudly dedicated the Mary K. Giordano Regional Transit Center. By the end of July, two of its members were determined to kill the C-Line Extension, which was the whole reason behind Metro building the center.

Whether Torrance gets an extension to Metro’s C line may depend on whether Mayor George Chen is a leader.

Going into the recent Transportation Committee session, District 5’s Aurelio Mattucci, its chair, had broadcast his fearmongering about the homeless who would come in by train and camp out in Torrance.

Then District 1’s Jon Kaji followed suit with his own fearmongering email, which, by the way, was a Brown Act violation. The committee’s third member, Bridgett Lewis, moved – successfully – to turn the issue over to the Council for further study.

Some politicians may be determined to kill it, but Chen has gone on the record as liking the extension idea. Can he find two votes to agree with him? This may be the defining issue of his mayoralty and determine whether he is re-elected or becomes only the second mayor – after Dan Walker – to be tossed out after one term.

Will he be able to brag about starting the extension’s construction or will he be explaining how he allowed the brand-new Giordano to become a white elephant – without a light rail coming in, it no longer has a purpose.

Some politicians may be determined to kill it, but residents and the business community want the light rail. After the last newsletter on this issue, my inbox was filled with unhappy comments from readers. My favorite came from Katie Heflinger, who said I could share it:

“I live near the Giordano Regional Transit Center and have been counting down the years until the Metro project is complete because I think it will be so wonderful to be able to hop on and go to LAX and the rest of greater L.A. . . . I think that money will follow, and investments will be made into vacant spaces like the old S-Mart and the ugly mattress store. I envision new apartments with ground-floor retail, including hip coffeeshops, grocery, revitalized offices, etc. It will be a convenient hub. It's happened elsewhere where the Metro has extended the rail.”

Marianne Hamada, president of the North Torrance Neighborhood Assn. which covers District 1, said her group supports the project, specifically the alternative utilizing the existing railroad right of way. If Kaji had talked to Hamada, or any of her fellow board members, he would have had a better understanding of the community’s thoughts. But he has ignored the group since it criticized his disastrous outdoor community meeting last November.

But I am surprised that Kaji and Mattucci, who tout their financial acumen, are so out of step with the business community. Here’s what the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Donna Duperon told the committee:

“Today, I stand before you as a representative of the business community who have positioned themselves in support of the Green line extension. Our members have attended meetings and listened to countless presentations from Metro. They have asked questions; they have done their homework, and they do continue to support the Green Line extension to Torrance.

“It is truly our hope that Metro will continue to commit to specific measures to ensure safety and security on their system. It is also our hope that the state of California and the County of Los Angeles will continue to work on the solution to those unhoused – housing. A recent study concluded that California’s chronic shortage of housing lies at the heart of the unhoused problem.

Every segment of American society — individuals, families, communities, and businesses — benefits from public transportation. It is a lifeline for millions of Americans connecting them to people, places, and possibilities. It also builds thriving communities, creates jobs, eases traffic congestion, and promotes a cleaner environment. Investment in public transportation spurs both the local and the national economy.

Unfortunately, Kaji and Mattucci are turning the homeless into boogeymen.

Yes, homelessness is a problem, but as former Mayor Pat Furey pointed out in his letter to the committee: “At the present time, the C-line extension to Torrance is scheduled to be completed by 2033 – a full 10 years from now – a time frame that should provide more than enough time to eliminate or remediate both of those very important concerns.”

Metro, in its presentation to the committee, talked about measures that it is taking to reduce crime, including the possibility of having its own police force. And we haven’t seen stats tying crime specifically to homelessness. District 3’s Asam Sheikh has asked Torrance Police Chief Jeremiah Hart for crime statistics linked to the City’s Little Houses project that provides temporary housing for the homeless.

Much of homelessness in general is tied to mental illness, and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new C.A.R.E. courts are designed to give authorities the ability to make the mentally ill leave the streets to receive treatment.

The real estate world is coming to terms with the fact that post-pandemic, many businesses are continuing to let employees work from home and reducing office spaces. Building owners are talking about repurposing empty buildings into housing. Earlier this month, the New York Times ran this interesting story out of London:

What happens if Torrance tells Metro it is reneging? In the end, it’s Metro’s decision, and it could override the City Council’s request to pull out. But Metro is a political animal. Why spend money where politicians don’t want it? There are plenty of city officials with their hands out.

One is Inglewood Mayor James Butts. My apologies for writing that he wanted it for the LAX peoplemover. I had the right instrument but the wrong destination. He wants our money to build a peoplemover to SoFi Stadium.

If anyone on our Council thinks a stadium is worthier than the people and businesses of Torrance, then shame on them.

What can you do? If we had time, I would suggest a petition like the one that moved the Council on action on the airport. More than 900 people signed it, but those signatures were gathered over a few months. We don’t have that much time. If you care about public transportation, let the Council know your feelings now. And if you wrote in the past, remind them again that you still feel the same way.

The Council needs to hear from you!

A new flight plan:

The City Council has started developing new rules for Torrance Airport, and it includes landing fees and some, but not all, of the items requested by residents.

Here is a thumbnail outline of what was approved . . . and what wasn’t:

· All planes not based in Torrance and Torrance-based fixed-wing flight schools with fleets of more than three planes will pay landing fees. Exempted are military, public safety and medical flights and Robinson Helicopter.

· The City’s policy allows for only six schools, but staff had given licenses to eight. Staff has been instructed to inform the two most recent schools that they will be unable to renew their licenses – unless one of the first six has left the airport. In the future, any new flight school’s license must be approved by the Council.

· The Council approved the Letter of Agreement between the City and the flight schools. They agreed the LOA was unenforceable, but they said, in effect, it couldn’t hurt.

· They agreed to look into expanding the noise-monitoring system.

· Leaded gas will be phased out with “a target of within the next 12 months.”

· They directed staff to begin enforcement of no early-left turns.

· All training operations are now banned on weekends and City-recognized holidays. They also limited weekday training hours to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and asked staff to report back on whether this helped reduce airport noise.

· A push for an elimination of touch and goes did not pass. District 6’s Mike Griffiths, Mattucci and Kaji voted for it. Chen and District 3’s Asam Sheikh opposed it. Lewis abstained. District 4’s Sharon Kalani had recused herself at the start of the agenda item. Evidently, City Attorney Patrick Sullivan thought that a family connection created a conflict. She was clearly disappointed, as were many residents.

· The City will start utilizing an FAA communications system that all pilots flying into Torrance must listen to.

Chuck Costello, a leader of the Coalition for Torrance Airport Reform, praised the Council’s actions, but indicated they didn’t go far enough:

“The schools' 'touch and go' flights that cause the most noise and safety risks will still be allowed Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Those flights have to be banned."

The pilots spoke against most of the measures. They were clearly upset that the item was scheduled for the July 25 meeting because it conflicted with an out-of-town event that had drawn a large number of their supporters.

This issue is not yet a done deal. When the proposed ordinances come up for discussion, expect the pilots to try to eliminate them. And there are other possible enforcement issues, such as declaring a specific flight school a public nuisance and closing it down. When Griffiths proposed that, the audience cheered.

During the public comment time, Jon Dearing pointed out the connection between Jim Gates, a longtime Torrance Airport Assn. president, and Sling Flight Academy. Gates is employed by a company whose owners also own Sling.

Post-meeting, residents are continuing to make suggestions. Dave Roelen emailed the Council: “There is no requirement for airports to have an FAA control tower. There is no requirement for Torrance to even have a control tower. . . . Torrance could have no control tower at all or we, the City, could contract (paid by airport users) with a private company to control aircraft traffic at our airport.”

A proclamation for change:

When Mayor Chen put up roadblocks to issuing Black History Month and Pride Month proclamations, some in the community started asking whether there was something in the Torrance Municipal Code that made this a mayoral prerogative. Finding nothing, they have set up a website with a petition that would give the whole Council skin in the proclamation game. To sign it, go to

Video of Chen meeting:

James Hill has uploaded his video of the June 27 community meeting. Unfortunately, Hill didn’t capture the start with Chen calling education one of his top two priorities; the mayor has no role in Torrance Unified School District decisions.

Hill did film the amazing comments on the failure to have a Pride Month proclamation, such as the one that borrowed from Shakespeare’s Shylock speech in the Merchant of Venice. Or the one from the tearful young Torrance employee.

How late was it?:

The July 25 City Council meeting started at 5 p.m. and adjourned at 1a.m. Fortunately for those interested in the airport discussion, that agenda item was done by 11 p.m.

Before I go:

v Apple will open a store in Del Amo. City Manager Aram Chaparyan shared the good news at Lewis’ July 18 community meeting.

v Jerry Ronan’s fans and friends are legion – from his students at Torrance High School to his associates on many nonprofits, including the Torrance Cultural Arts Foundation, which he served as board president. In his memory, a tree will be planted at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8, in El Prado Park at the northwest corner of El Prado and Arlington near his home of more than 50 years.

As Debbie Hays points out, Jerry had a keen sense of responsibility to the environment, never drove – by choice – refused to drink from plastic water bottles and did not use tape when wrapping gifts. It is these ecological endeavors that make planting a tree in his honor and placing a bench in the park upon which people can sit, take in the beauty of nature, and enjoy company and conversation with others . . . so befitting.” To attend, RSVP to Hays at 310-561-7806.

v The City is adding to its list of newsletters for residents. Go to to see what’s available and check the ones that interest you.

v Here’s your chance to see a Broadway show without leaving the South Bay.

Torrance Theatre Company’s annual summer musical is always a well-done production. “Kinky Boots” starts Saturday, Aug. 5 and runs through Aug. 19 at the Armstrong Theatre. For tickets., go to

Unfamiliar with the story? According to TTC: “Charlie Price has reluctantly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair find that they have more in common than they realized . . . and discover that when you change your mind, you can change your whole world.”

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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Thanks for the information. Please keep up your efforts.

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