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Newsletter, No. 45. Feb. 18, 2024

  • What the candidates said at election forums.

  • Troublesome fundraiser for Lee and Yeh.

  • Mattucci recall update.

  • Problems with push to secede from County Health Dept.

  • Renewed request for unleaded plane fuel.

Election Day is March 5, and many of us have already voted. If you are still deliberating – and live in Districts 2, 4 or 6 – here are some things to consider:

District 6 voters can hear their candidates on Monday the 19th at 7 p.m. at Alta Loma Park’s meeting room, 26126 Delos Dr.

If, like me, you couldn’t attend the League of Women Voters’ candidates forum, you can watch it here:

Moderator Ryan Rauzon did an excellent job of keeping everyone on track. If you missed the Chamber of Commerce’s session, the candidates repeated the talking points they had made at that event.

District 2 candidate Andrew Lee and District 6 candidate Tony Yeh made it clear that they are in line with Mayor George Chen.

Pride Month was a perfect example of how each approached questions tied to issues in which the mayor has a stake. Chen is adamantly opposed to recognizing the gay community and, at his community meeting last year, called homosexuality a “lifestyle choice.”

When asked if he would support a Pride Month proclamation, Yeh dodged it by saying that it’s the mayor’s prerogative.

Lee started his answer by talking about Torrance Memorial, where he works, recognizing Pride Month. Then he talked in generalities about how the City has the opportunity to recognize everyone. But he dodged saying whether he would support it.

The West Torrance Homeowners Assn. and the Southwood Homeowners Assn. co-sponsored a forum. I also missed it but heard an audio recording a friend made.

Diana Seyb reflected the general feedback I received from several attendees. She said she and her neighbor were both impressed with District 2’s Bridgett Lewis. When it came to Lee, they were “very disturbed that he seemed to want to create fear in Torrance residents.” Seyb questioned Lee’s story of a widow who is now afraid to walk her dog at night.

While he stressed his focus on public safety, it is Lewis who has been endorsed by the three Torrance police and fire unions.

Another attendee summed up Lee’s performance: “He had no meat and potatoes on his menu.”

This fundraiser is raising eyebrows:

The Asian Pacific Freedom PAC is a right-wing group raising funds for Chen, District 1’s Jon Kaji, Yeh and Lee. Last month it held an event whose moderator was Vijay Jojo Chokal Ingam. The publicity described him as “Author of ‘Almost Black’ Anti-Affirmative Action Activist (As Regularly Seen on Tucker Carlson).”

He calls himself an “Affirmative Action Hacktivist.” His book’s whole title: Almost Black: The True Story of How I Got Into Medical School by Pretending to Be Black.

Attendees plastered social media with photos from the event. And two guests, Andrew Lee and Chief Jeremiah Hart, caused my inbox to fill with indignant comments from residents who follow these sites but who are of a more moderate political persuasion.

On the one hand, Lee was benefiting from the fundraiser so, of course, he would be there. But he is Torrance Memorial’s director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and readers were questioning why he was aligning himself with an organization that clearly doesn’t support those goals.

After the homeowner’s forum about 10 days later, Rowan FoxWood and a friend approached Lee to ask him why he had attended that event. He claimed to have no knowledge of their policies or the people they invited to moderate events. FoxWood said, “Now that you are aware, what is your response?” She said he accused them of attacking him and “bolted right out of the entire event.”

Hart attended in his police uniform. When I followed up, City Manager Aram Chaparyan said his attendance was a personal matter. He did not respond to my follow-up question about City policy on when uniforms could be worn off-duty. Hart did not respond to my query.

Among the questions readers asked: This was a fundraiser; were City funds used to pay for the chief’s $60 ticket?

Mattucci recall update:

Petition gatherers are collecting signatures of District 5 residents who would like to see him removed. As the document – The Reasons to Recall Mattucci – says, “Aurelio Mattucci has given us so many reasons for wanting to see him removed from his Council office.” To see the list, go to

Good news: The Secretary of State has issued an FPPC number – 1466851 – so that the committee can fundraise for the campaign. If you would like to send a check, make it out to Committee to Recall Torrance Councilmember Aurelio Mattucci 2024 and send it to Recall Mattucci, 23223 Ladeene Ave., Torrance, CA 90505. A website is in the works for those who prefer to donate online.

If you live in District 5 and would like to sign the petition or if you live anywhere in Torrance and would like to volunteer for the campaign, email, and I will pass along your information.

Should Torrance have its own Public Health Dept.?:

Mattucci has been lobbying hard for Torrance to secede from the County Public Health Dept.

At its Jan. 23 meeting, the Council got the presentation they had requested and heard points that should have been deal breakers. More about them in a moment. But the Council – with only District 6’s Mike Griffiths voting no – agreed to go one more round, asking for a follow-up report. The trigger for it will come one year after West Covina has created its breakaway agency.

Ben Brown, an intern, got the assignment to outline what’s involved in quitting the County. He did an excellent job, so I highly recommend going to and fast-forwarding to Item 9J – the last of the 9s.

Here are the three takeaways that argue why this proposal should be dead on arrival:

No. 1: Setting up an agency will be expensive. Brown said no grants are available to underwrite those costs.

No. 2: Running its own agency will strain the City’s budget. As it is, Long Beach has to take millions each year to underwrite having its own health agency. Brown said Beverly Hills had decided against setting up its own department “because they want to avoid the administrative and financial burden that going out on its own would cause.”

No. 3: Mattucci – with support from Chen and Kaji – has argued that Torrance should not have had to follow the County’s mandates during the pandemic. He pointed to Long Beach and Pasadena, which had their own agencies and could tweak the rules.

If Torrance cuts loose, however, it will not be able to unilaterally forge its own path. Brown explained that Long Beach and Pasadena have each had a standalone health department for more than 100 years. As laws changed, they were grandfathered into their own category.

Torrance will not have that benefit. If the California Department of Public Health sides with the County, we will still be bound by those rules – plus we will have the newfound expenses.

Airport Update:

The Council declined to make changes in the current noise-monitoring system. Casper Airport Solutions told the Council that its noise study indicated noise picked up on additional monitors could be coming from LAX aircraft. Since the City can’t hold those pilots accountable, they decided to keep the status quo. 

COTAR, the citizens group monitoring Torrance Airport, has formally asked the Council to address the use of leaded airplane fuel. The Environmental Protection Agency has reported that Torrance Airport is among the top 100 lead-polluting airports out of 20,000 airports nationwide.


Before I go:

v Mayor Chen will have his second Community Meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28 in the City Council Chamber, 3031 Torrance Blvd.


v District 3’s Asam Sheikh received excused absences for three meetings. We wish him a speedy recovery.


v The City’s deadline for correspondence to be included in the Council’s pre-meeting public supplemental is now 5:30 p.m. the Monday before the meeting. The Council will receive anything that comes in later before the meeting, but it won’t be posted until Wednesday. It will be at the top of the agenda. You can also leave voicemails to be included as Oral Communications in the supplemental. Call 310-618-2404 to leave up to a two-minute recording that will be transcribed. Voicemails have the same deadlines as the emails.

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

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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