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Newsletter No. 42

  • Chen's candidates flounder.

  • Why Sling is still flying.

  • New information on Kaji.

  • Mattucci does an about-face.

 

Last April, Mayor George Chen was telling people that his candidates would win all three of the seats on the March ballot, but now he will be lucky if just one of them succeeds. Of course, he only needs one more seat to finally control the Council.


The first person he encouraged to run was Shamindra Mahbahal for District 4. If you don’t know his history with Chen, go to www.TakeBackTorrance check out Newsletters No. 10, 11 and 12.


To learn why residents were so upset with Chen’s attempt to railroad Mahbahal’s appointment to the Civil Service Commission, just do an Internet search on his name.

 

In this election, Mahbahal not only came in with a lot of baggage, but he was also trying to unseat a strong incumbent, Sharon Kalani.


When she ran in 2020 as a first-time campaigner, I supported her opponent Sue Herbers, the longtime former city clerk. Kalani has done such a good job on the Council that Herbers and I are now among the horde supporting her.


While Mahbahal filed the necessary intent-to-run papers, he never turned in the signatures needed to get on the ballot. Thus, there is no chance for a Chen-backed candidate in District 4 because the filing deadline has passed.

 

The second person Chen encouraged to run was Tony Yeh, a local realtor who is a planning commissioner and lives in District 6. Because Mike Griffiths is termed out, this could have been a slam-dunk win for Yeh.


Initially, Yeh’s competition was just Jack Walser, a local art-supply-and-gun-store owner who had filled out the year left in Tim Goodrich’s term. Though he has Council experience, he lacks a fund-raising base and volunteer team to counter what Chen was prepared to shower Yeh with.

 

Then Jeremy Gerson filed to run. As a Torrance Unified School Board member, Gerson is the only one of the three with campaign experience, but he’s not the reason that Yeh’s candidacy is in trouble.

 

It’s because of his own activities – to the point that Chen has now told Yeh he no longer plans to endorse him.

 

What happened? City Clerk Rebecca Poirier sent the mayor, council members, city manager, city attorney and anyone else on her bcc list an accounting of Yeh’s infractions. I have seen the letter. Most of the items are minor . . . but still they are errors on his part.

 

Here’s an excerpt from the letter:

“Many times, when I have spoken to Mr. Yeh about Conflict of Interest or potential campaign issues, he says ‘you didn’t tell me’ or ‘I didn’t know’. I provide a comprehensive review and instruct all candidates that it’s their personal responsibility to read the rest of the Candidate Handbook and know the material,” she wrote the Council.

 

Her last complaint, however, is the eyebrow raiser: She says that Yeh filed the mandated financial disclosure form and neglected to list rental properties he owns in Torrance.

 

One concern: Were any of those lots within 500 feet of properties whose owners were appearing before the Planning Commission? If so, he should have recused himself.

 

Chen still has high hopes for District 2. It’s his home district. He won Council elections there twice, and he expects his candidate to benefit from his support.

 

While Andrew Lee might not be as problematic as Mahbahal or Yeh, he has made some blunders that I’ve written about previously.


Since then, I have started seeing his campaign material, which is misleading. He paints himself as a longtime resident with the claim that he has been “your Torrance neighbor for more than 40 years.”

 

Sounds impressive. One would assume that he has a rich understanding of Torrance issues if he has lived here for the last 40 years.


And that’s the problem. He grew up here, went to school here and then left for about a dozen years. He returned to Torrance in November 2022 after having worked in Illinois, Georgia and Washington State.

 

So, basically, he is a new guy in town.

 

One more tidbit: Lee recently changed his party affiliation. Other candidates have done that, and it’s not an issue because this is a nonpartisan race. So, party shouldn’t matter.


In Lee’s case, however, it does. He changed from Democrat to American Independent. That’s the party Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace began in 1967 so that he could run for U.S. president. Wallace was an unapologetic racist. White supremacy was the party’s platform.

 

Why would Torrance Memorial’s director of diversity align himself with a party pushing the very concepts that he is supposed to be fighting?

 

Do I think Lee is a misguided racist? No, but is he really ready for prime time if he is not capable of doing the research to recognize who the American Independents are and to know that anyone wanting to be considered an independent could have registered as a “declined to state.”


Lee may have a PsyD degree and want to be called Dr. Lee, but his educational accomplishments aren’t helping him in real-life situations.

 

Ballot recommendations:

Full disclosure, I am financially supporting the three candidates that I am recommending below. Do we agree on every issue? No. But all three are willing to listen to other viewpoints.

 

District 2. Bridgett Lewis was appointed to Chen’s seat when he became mayor, and she has stepped up, making herself available to residents with concerns.


Her only problem: Chen plans to pour money and volunteers into the district, as he did for his campaigns. His church has been an important source of volunteers. And now they won’t be spread thin working on District 4 and 6 races.

 

District 4. As I mentioned, I am a fan of Sharon Kalani. (Her opponent, Kousha Modanlou, has no experience with Torrance commissions or community groups.)

 

District 6, Jeremy Gerson grew up in Torrance and is currently the school board’s president.

 

All three can use your help. Obviously if you live in their districts, they would appreciate your votes. But wherever you live, they can also use your donations, endorsements and volunteer time. For example, would you be interested in giving a coffee for your friends and neighbors? Let them know.

 

Here is where to get information on all three:

 

 

 

 

Sling still flying:

The pilot school got a temporary restraining order forcing the City to allow it to fly at least until it gets its day in court, which will be at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 11 in Department 82 at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Downtown L.A.


Sling was notified in October that its business license would not be renewed. Many of us expected Sling to buy out or merge with one of the licensed smaller schools – and that remains an option if Sling loses on the 11th.

 

The Kaji plot thickens:

The last time I mentioned District 1's JonKaji in connection with the Crown Castle Cell Tower, it was in reference to his attempt to come across as the good guy supporting the community’s objections to it. If you missed the item or want to refresh your memory, go to www.TakeBackTorrance.com and click on Newsletter No. 39.

 

What’s new? A resident has provided a treasure trove of background material on Crown Castle and other jaw-dropping accusations.

 

For Crown Castle, he starts by sharing a meeting that City staff was holding with concerned residents. Kaji came to it, but a staff member told him that he needed to leave, probably because it would be inappropriate for an elected official to participate in a fact-finding session.

 

However, the real problem came when Kaji failed to recuse himself from the Council’s discussion at the Sept. 26 meeting.


My source points out that, on his Financial Disclosure Form 700, he checked the $10,001-$100,000 box for money from a real-estate relationship with Crown Castle International Corp. Kaji reportedly has had a couple dozen DBAs; this relationship was listed as being tied to Kodomo 3LLC.

 

I’m examining pages and pages of documents in the 18 attachments I received over the holidays. In coming newsletters, I will share my findings.

 

Quote of the Day:

At the Dec. 19 Council meeting, District 5’s Aurelio Mattucci said, “If we didn’t have SST, we’d probably be looking at cutting public safety positions.” Mattucci campaigned against SST, which was the half-cent sales-tax increase.

 

The Recalls:

The recall campaigns for Kaji and Mattucci are progressing. They are aiming for the November election to ensure that a special election is not required. If you are interested in signing a petition or volunteering, email me at jeanadelsman@yahoo.com and I will pass along your information to the organizers. Signers must live in the district, but volunteers can reside anywhere.

 

Mark your calendars:

District 2’s West Torrance Homeowners Association has scheduled a candidates forum at Bert Lynn Middle School, 5038 Halison St. on Wednesday, Feb. 7. The starting time is TBD.


Mayor George Chen will hold his second community meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. at City Hall. His 2023 session drew a large audience that berated him for his stands on various issues, particularly for his negative stance on Pride Month.

 

How late did it end?:

The Dec. 19 Council meeting adjourned at 11:46 p.m. – back to quitting before midnight after a 1:30ish a.m. the previous Tuesday.

 

But how late did it start?:

Chen is consistently starting the meetings about 15 minutes late. The Dec. 19 meeting was no exception: It began at 6:46 p.m. Frank Scotto and Pat Furey were known for being sticklers for starting meetings promptly, rather than having residents waste their time.


“We would call the meeting to order even if someone was not in their seat,” Furey told me.


I will now start tracking both the start and stop times.

 

 

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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2件のコメント


colr
2月23日

Sharon Kalani raised a sales tax to pay for the bankrupt city . Do you think Kousha Modanlou a certified Berkeley CPA would be that careless with our money . We do know how the city became broke in the first place do we not ?

Mark M Breza

いいね!

reacher
1月13日

Jean thanks again for this summary. I will write to Mattucci as well for his view of things. He seldom answers my questions however. Big question now that I have read the latest Daily Breeze article regarding the flight school issue, (January 12, 2024), what will the March court meeting solve? What is a "trial setting conference" ?

いいね!
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