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  • jeanadelsman4

Newsletter No. 38

  • Big pay raises for City Council?

  • More on Metro.

  • Cost for recall.

  • Scam alert.

The City is surveying residents to ask if the Council and Mayor should get pay raises, from the $100 a month they now receive to a proposed $1,900 a month.


If the City Council thinks that would pass, the pay raise will appear on the November 2024 ballot.


Interestingly, Mayor George Chen and District 5’s Aurelio Mattucci both voted against putting the sales-tax measure on the June 2022 primary ballot. The rest of the Council, however, approved it. Despite Chen, Mattucci and then-District 1 candidate Jon Kaji’s opposition, the half-cent increase passed. Now with the City’s solvency not quite on the brink, Chen asked City staff to survey residents about the raises.


Last week, a reader emailed me about the survey and to ask if I knew who was behind it. I investigated and discovered an email that Finance Director Sheila Poisson had sent to City Manager Aram Chaparyan and City Attorney Patrick Sullivan and cc’d City Clerk Rebecca Poirier and City Treasurer Tim Goodrich. She told them that, starting, Sept. 26, 500 registered Torrance voters would be asked to participate in a survey.


“Unlike former surveys that included the city logo and signed by the CM [City Manager], this one is designed to look more independent given the nature of the questions,” Poisson wrote.


I have since seen some of the questions. Several readers asked if it was a legitimate survey or if it was something Chen had orchestrated to get a pay raise. I asked one of them who hadn’t yet taken the survey to do some screenshots so I could see the nature of the questions. And she kindly did.


She echoed what I had heard from others who were dismayed by how much time they ended up spending on it and about the confusing nature of many of the questions.


Bottom line going forward: There are two ways to view sitting on the Council.


Is it a public service that residents are committing to, with no salary or an honorarium at most, such as $100?


Or is it a job that they should be compensated for?


Both are legitimate viewpoints. For a city the size of Torrance with its professional staff, I come down on the side of public service. For those who see it as a possible perch to gain political experience and then run for higher offices, I recommend they think of it as an unpaid internship.


Both George Nakano and Ted Lieu benefited from their terms on the Council and went on to serve in the State Assembly. Lieu went even further: the State Senate and now the U.S. House where he appears to have a secure seat.


If the raise question becomes a ballot issue, I will write more on it.


Metro meeting update:

The City Council’s Oct. 24 meeting is supposed to address whether Torrance will continue to support the C Line extension to the Mary K. Giordano Regional Transit Center. Then two days later the Metro Board was going to finalize which route the light rail’s tracks would take. However, Supervisor Holly Mitchell, who sits on the board, has moved the agenda item to its January meeting. She wants to take the time to get more community input. The Torrance Chamber has already stepped up to give Metro the reading it needs from the business community: overwhelmingly strong support.


This is an opportunity for organizations – such as neighborhood associations and community groups – to rally their members and communicate their wishes.


An update: As wonderful as the video that I highlighted in my last newsletter was, it had one pertinent fact wrong: the timeline for the turndown of Kaji’s proposal for a project on Metro land. It was rejected in 2019. That would be a long time to hold a grudge.


Recall cost:

Apparently after Mattucci posted on Facebook that a recall would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, he decided to ask someone who actually knew the price tag. City Clerk Rebecca Poirier reported back and shared the number with the whole Council and some City officials: $72,427.39.


About the same amount that the Council budgeted for two junkets to Asia.


Interested in signing the recall petition? Let me know at jeanadelsman@yahoo.com. FYI, that goes for the Kaji recall as well; I will pass along your request. Both recall groups will need volunteers since they don’t plan to pay for petition-signature gatherers.


Thinking strategically:

The City’s website has a cool new feature for anyone wanting to track what is happening with the Strategic Plan: www.TorranceCA.gov/StrategicPlanDashboard.



Tiny homes for . . . ?:

In case you were among the people asking the City about what looks like a new tiny-houses complex at Del Amo and Maple: The structures are for horses, not humans.


The new buildings are for the nonprofit group that oversees the Police Department’s mounted horse posse. The horses, which had lived nearby for decades, were relocated because of a fire that made the land uninhabitable for them.

How late was it?:

The Sept. 26 Council meeting adjourned a little after 11:30 p.m. They are on a roll with quitting before midnight.


Before I go, Part 1:

v Most likely, the City Council will be addressing airport issues at the Oct. 17 meeting after their return from their Asia trip.


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.


Before I go, Part 2 – a scam alert:

These two stories don’t fit in my normal lineup, but the subject is important and the victims have encouraged me to share this so that others avoid similar traps:


Scammers have gotten creative enough to snag two local women who would not ordinarily be taken in. In the first case, the bad guys walked away with $50,000; in the second, it was $21,000.


How could it happen? In retrospect, they recognized warning signs, but as it was happening, they had turned off their internal scammer alerts.


Case No. 1: Her computer was hacked, and a voice coming from it said, “This is so-and-so from Microsoft. You have been hacked. I am here to help.” The help came in the form of filling out a fake FTC fraud report. By the time the whole exercise ended, the victim had sent $50,000. Yes, there were warning signs along the way, but before she reflected on them, she had allowed the scammer to turn off her rational-thinking skills.


Case No. 2: The caller ID on her cell phone said her credit-card company was calling her. The voice asked if she had bought Item A or Item B from stores in Atlanta. She said no. The voice told her that her card would be shut down and she would get a new card, but he would first help her fill out a fraud report. That resulted in her also turning off her mental red-flag alerts and giving him information that allowed $21,000 to be stolen. In her case, she might get some money back because, unlike the first case, she didn’t initiate the transfer of funds.


Bottom line: Don’t open attachments from people you don’t know or unexpected attachments from people you do know. Don’t click on links from people for the same reason. If your computer, uninvited, starts talking to you, turn it off and call your computer person.


Most important: When people say that they are there to help you, turn on all your scammer-alert tools.

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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